Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Congratulations! You have been awarded...

As I trod through my emails every day I am constantly reminded how stupid many people in this world believe Americans are.  Daily I read emails that outline in no uncertain terms that this is the case as the strangest requests pop up.  I often wonder if Al Gore would have ever invented the internet if he had the forethought to think that "phishers of men" would troll the international waters that he created.

I doubt it in all honesty for the simple fact that the "bark buddy" didn't invent it in the first place but if the people that DID create the "world wide web" could have ever thought that it would become the puddle of evil it has become.  To prove my point I stand fairly confident that everyone has seen the garbage that fills Spam folders and inboxes and its a safe guest that at least once even YOU have opened one of those emails to see what it is.  Although some of you may have interest in low cost Viagra or pills and potions that "enhance" men its a safe bet most of you just find it annoying.  The problem is the emails that fill our inboxes are not always innocuous and the seek those that are weak.

The weak I speak of aren't those that need "enhancement" (you know who you are), rather those that fall prey to those that can exploit them and their shortcomings (seriously you know who you are).  What I mean by that is those that are limited by experience, or perceived need or are that type of person that is susceptible to the "three card Monty" scam, elderly, lack common sense or have some type of mental issue.  Confused?  I understand so the best example of those conditions are three emails I received today.

Example #1:
I think this example is best defined as the "Lottery Scam" and I don't mean the Powerball or State run lotteries.  These scams are best defined as "Congratulations! You have been awarded..." (neat title I should use that some day) when you have been blindly awarded something that you never signed up for. So when I saw the title "BMW LOTTERY DEPARTMENT" the shields went up and a smile overtook my face.

The email was typical of these scamming bastards, telling me from the start it was a scam by adding "NOTE: If you received this message in your SPAM/BULK folder, that is because of the restrictions implemented by your Internet Service Provider, we (BMW) urge you to treat it genuinely and kindly move it to your inbox." to the very FIRST freaking line.  These pinheads are basically warning you that your email provider knows its a scam and sent it as such to your SPAM or Trash folder but it gets better.

If this really was from BMW do you think they would have the winner notified by a BMW email or by "foxmail?"  If it took you a minute to come up with that answer never go back on the internet again, EVER.  While that should be a red flag of the scammers stupidity the fact that in the FIRST LINE in the body of the letter they have a serious misspelling that should be as conspicuous as the "foxmail" issue.  I know this email is supposed to come from Los Angeles but come on, saying the "United STATE of America" really?  Trust me this type of letter from BMW would have been reviewed innumerate times and that would have been caught AND it would have come FROM BMW!  It is of certain curiosity that it is apparently important that they tell me the "BMW Lottery" is approved by the "British Gaming Board," why is that important to me, you just told me that you know I am a resident of the "United STATE of America" therefore a moot point.

Grammar and syntax should be blatant red flags as well, BMW isn't going to hire "Willy the Window Licker" but when you read the email its obvious they haven't a clue as to writing in English.  But the best part of this email is the fact that they ask for information about "Nationality," "Present Country" and my favorite one "Email Address."  They just emailed you, they have that freaking information.

Example #1 - The Lottery Scam

Example #2:
The "Random Kindness of Foreign Governments" could be my favorite of all of the scams out there, so it becomes example #2.  The interesting thing about this email is the fact that it comes from a email that could look legitimate.  The possibility that this email could come from an apparent company or governmental agency can take a person off guard for about a millisecond and if its longer than that then that person shouldn't be allowed to drive, vote or even hold small children.

In this example the sender tells us that he received your name by a "commercial attache from your country's embassy in Abuja Nigeria" so a couple of red flags immediately pop up.  First of all we aren't told who that attache is and although we are told that person is from "your country's embassy" they don't tell you the name of the country.  Why is that important?  It is of significant importance when you think that they don't say the "American Embassy" or whatever country you live in because it isn't proper.  Here we go with that talk about grammar and syntax you're thinking but it is not something a person of some import would not get wrong.

The next glaring issue with this scam is the fact that the "author" of the letter is "Engr.Williams Ogerugo Olisa" a man who according to the email has skimmed off funds in a government corruption scheme.  Why is that important you ask?  Well its pretty simple, "Mr. Olisa" has broken the law in his country, even explaining the reason he is sending ME the money as he states: "For obvious reasons, I cannot deposit this money in any bank account in this country or invest it here, so with my influence and contacts, I have successfully placed the money in a security vault Safe Keeping company as money owned by a foreigner. I want to quickly move this money out of this country for joint investment with you."  What that tells me is that I too would be breaking the laws in Nigeria because I would be complicit in the embezzlement of government funds, transferring those funds internationally and in essence laundering the money for Mr. Olisa.  I don't know about you but one of the last places I EVER want to be put is a prison in a foreign country.  I've watched enough episodes of "Locked Up Abroad" to know my hind end doesn't want to go there.

Despite all of that one of the most curious parts of this scam is the fact that this person states:

Your role will be:
  1. Act as the original owner of the US$48 million
  2. Receive the $48 million in your custody
  3. Invest/Manage the funds as joint investment until i am retired or resign government work
Here is a total stranger, offering ME $48 million dollars and although he knows nothing about me, he wants me to invest / manage the funds.  Think about that for a minute.  If this were indeed legitimate would a total stranger want me, a total stranger, to invest / manage the money however I felt appropriate?  I seriously doubt all of that, why because it doesn't make sense.  If this were real and I received that money, I'm gone and Mr. Olisa will never find me.

Unlike Example #1 this person doesn't ask for any personal information but he does provide a telephone number that I can reach him. By calling this person he can now get tons of personal information, including where in the heck I actually live.  He can harass me, scam me, steal that personal information and although I didn't call the number I know that he would try to harvest everything he could and probably request that send THEM money to send me the money.

Example #2 - Random Kindness of Foreign Governments

Example #3:
The third example of a scam is "The Random Kindness of Our Government and Other Entities."  This one is maybe the most devious of the scams if not for the simple reason that highlights our trust in our own government.  People that perpetrate this scam really should be beaten with hammers because this one can really mess with people.  Trust in the government isn't the most popular right now and when you get an "official" email it can trick you very easily.

Never fear, however, because the first clue that this isn't from Uncle Sam is the fact that the email address it came from should be an immediate stopping point for the validity of the email.  In this email it looks like the email itself came from the "Office of the Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank" BUT if this were indeed the case it would have come from an official .gov email and NOT from "safety@thaitec****.com" as this one did.

If that isn't an immediate point of contention the sender decides that they must tell me that these funds are coming to my "hour of compensation and actualization has come after our meeting with the United Nations, Bank of America, Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Reserve Bank officials" which is as forceful as a boot to the head as it tries to prove to me its validity by using respected agencies and banks as a source of proof.  Unless you are a complete narcissist ask yourself why would any of these entities talk about you in some sort of "special meeting."  Of all of these entities talking about you only the "Bank of America" would make sense IF and only IF you were a customer and you owed them large sums of money.

The last issue that should immediately make you suspicious is very simple, they ask for TONS of personal information.  I think that anyone that tries any of the scams is a piece of crap but when you so blatantly attempt to harvest this much information the perpetrator should be thrown into a lion enclosure covered in honey and raw meat.

If I'm being honest if you fall for someone, ANYONE, asking you to send them identification numbers like your Social Security Number, Drivers License Number or as they did in this one, "Your id or international passport" you almost deserve the nightmare that will ensue.  Look I understand that someone that you think you can trust is requesting this information but being as blunt as I can NO ONE, no governmental agency, no bank, no credit card company will EVER, I emphasize EVER, ask you for these things by email.  EVER.  Did I state that properly?  EVER.

Example #3 - The Random Kindness of Our Government and Other Entities

All of these scams and all of the others that are floating around out there are vile, and I really don't want to make light of the situation so despite anything that I said here please remember that these people don't play around.  If you give them even an inkling of their ability to scam you, they will try and try to make it happen.  The most important thing you can ever do is delete these things when they get delivered to your email, treat them like spoiled milk and throw them in the trash.

There are steps you can do to help yourself avoid becoming a statistic with these fine people, they take little time but that lost time can save you never ending headaches.  If you receive an email asking you for personal information look at the source first.  If it isn't from a trusted source like your bank immediately delete it.  If it claims to be from your bank (or another trusted entity) and they are asking for personal information, call the entity directly.  Make sure you DO NOT click any links or use any phone numbers contained in the email, they can lead you straight to the scammer.  Look up the number in the telephone book, or look for the number in a browser such as Yahoo!, MSN, etc. then physically call the bank and ask them if they sent that email. If the email is from a law enforcement agency like the FBI or a governmental agency take the same approach.  Look up the number and call the agency, DO NOT click any links.

Emails from "law enforcement agencies" should be reported to your local police agency and they can tell you the appropriate steps to take to actually alert the correct agency.  Make sure you never click any link in an email if it comes from a person or agency you don't know, its not going to end well and in fact your computer could be infected with a virus, spyware or even open your computer to those people that want to steal your identity.

On a side note people that do this to innocent people are reprehensible and should be prosecuted but unfortunately for many countries the crime is not a big deal and even worse it isn't something that would cause an arrest let alone extradition.  I hate these people, I hope that they get carpal tunnel and severe athlete's foot and creeping crud.  Crabs and fleas would be too go for these people, but just don't fall for these scumbags.

There I feel better now.

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