I must be the luckiest man in the world. Every time I open my Gmail, someone wants to give me money. I’m talking millions of dollars, folks.
My Gmail account receives dozens of e-mails each day. Some of it is directly related to my being a columnist for the Daily Press and some of it is just someone looking for a “sucker.”
Because I’m in the media, I’m on a number of publicist lists. For example, I recently received a request from a PR firm asking me to “… interview an author whose recent book highlights how repressed sexual conflicts and gender confusion relate to mental illness, including schizophrenia." The publicist obviously doesn’t know I write about city politics. Or, maybe he does.
The most fun is the spam. Just in the last few days I’ve been approved to win a lump sum of $2.2 million in the UK-Asia National Lottery and Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Nestle all want me to contact them about a “reward.” I have one of the lucky e-mail addresses worth $1,950,000 from the American Online Lottery.
I’ve been approved for the “Star Prize” of 250,000 British pounds, a 900,000 pound reward in a Mercedez-Benz promotion, 600,000 pounds from the Euro Solar UK Awards and 450,000 pounds courtesy of Microsoft Corporation. I’ve been notified by a barrister (English attorney) about a $45,000 bank draft due me. It seems like when it comes to online scams, the Brits have overtaken the Nigerians.
There’s only one problem with all these giveaways. The “awardees” all want confidential information such as full name, occupation, phone/fax numbers, address, sex, birth date, nationality, passport number, bank name and account or brokerage account numbers.
Respond and there are processing fees, entry fees and so forth. While you still “have been awarded millions of dollars,” you will also owe payments to cover taxes, registration and handling fees in order to claim your prize. Then there’s more fees on top of more fees. You can see where this is going.
Some of my favorite spam e-mails are from those wanting a business relationship.
One company offering computerized animation services was “red flagged” as a Chinese spammer. A digital photo editing service had a red stripe Google warning, “This message may not be from who it claims to be.”
Some spam may or may not be from legitimate sources like this one from Ali Zongo who has “cotton /cotton seeds and sesames seeds for sale. Call (foreign phone number) for more details.” But, would you take a chance?
Some sound almost reasonable like this invitation from an Australian company: “Learn to Earn $500 to $3,500 a Day From Home the EZ way! We have a proven system that is working like crazy. No BS. See Proof Here: (E-mail address)." Who knows what evil results when responding to this.
A gold finance company offered to make me “legitimate loans such as personal loans & business loans ETC with maximum guarantee. For more Inquiry contact us via e-mail…" However, a quick company search revealed lots of complaints and allegations of fraud and phishing to obtain banking and credit card information.
Try this opportunity: “My name is Dr. Mattie and I live in New York … I was invited to watch a simple seven-step online presentation about … My partner started using it June 14, 2010 and has already received over $150,000 in cash already … Simply reply to this email and get started on this miracle journey to massive wealth right away.” Yeah. Right.
I’ve received a number of these: "My name is Susan Foreman from Tripoli, Libya, I was married to Late Sir Foreman of blessed memory who was an oil explorer in Libya and Kuwait for twelve years before he died in the year 2000. I am presently hospitalized and abandoned by relatives.
“I have few days to live and I desire to … find some one remotely afar who can receive the funds from where it has been deposited and disburse the money ($2 million) to cancer research institutes and other deserving charity organizations. 50 percent of it can go for your personal needs for working with me on this sole act of charity. The Holy Spirit led me to do it this way. Please be prayerful all through your life.” Yep. Pray that I stay “remotely afar” from scammers.
Who knows what trickery this one is about. “Hello, my name is Vivian and i am looking for honest partner if you are interesting pls just mail me back so we can know each other well then i can also send you my picture. thanks and have a nice day.”
There you have it. Curiosity satisfied? Lesson to my readers: Never open these kinds of junk or spam e-mails. And, never, ever respond to their offers. It’s safe to say they are all scams and rip-offs.
Bill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. No spam, please.