internet has been around for a long time now. I mean, not very long
if you are comparing it to a tree or a rock or a star, but in the
time frame of computer technology the internet has been around for
a long, long time. As it has evolved, so too have evolved internet
based or supported crimes. There is phishing, a crime of which I hope
that you are all aware, and though a simple and often easily discerned
deception, it is one that hooks tens of thousand of trusting people
every year. Phishing is when you are sent an e-mail purportedly from
PayPal, or your bank, mortgage or credit card company asking you to
confirm your identity for security purposes. If you do fall into the
trap, they will have successfully robbed you of all your most important
information. Diabolical and yet very, very simple. They ask, you tell,
and thatís all she wrote.
The scam I like the best though is a more basic one and it is so incredibly
stupid that I do not imagine that very many people at all are fooled
by it. You get a letter that goes something like this:
"Most excellent and adorable business associate,
My name is Sir Alfred Lord Hobnob Billyclub Artichoke the third, son
of worldís best renowned diplomatical attacher of legal liability
matters of the United Conglomerate of Eastern Unions. My father died
leaving a huge steamer trunk with your estimable identifiers emblazoned
upon said trunk and the expert instructionization to of you notify
the ownership of. The steamer trunk. Which it is of filled by millions
of great british pounds and jewels and very most valuable types of
wills and codicils which requirements of your most immediate discrimination."
Now, I donít like to think that someone somewhere is trying to pull
one over on me, or that I am a potential victim of identity theft
or any other crime. I donít like the idea of that at all. But I do
like these letters! They are so hilarious that I cannot resist them!
I mean, I can resist them, and do, but I love to read them! In fact
one time, I even responded to one. I wrote:
"Salutations and felicitations most esteemed correspondent,
It was with great interest that I read your letter and I stand here
today humbled by the trust your late and most wise and excellent father
showed in me and the great family name of mine and my ancestors. I
will do what ever is in my power to be of facilitating of the large
number of funds available to me upon the close of our consumationating
of businesses. Would it be helpful to you if I were to provide you
with my bank account numbers, social security number, phone number,
all passwords, and the three number code to the lock on my diary?
I have also a sum of money available to your most respectablishious
self which might be of your assistance. I will be entirely able to
put this monies at the disposable and availability of you and also
I have power of attorney over all the lands and holdings of my aged
female parent and will wire that funds as well to you at your nearest
Okay. Maybe I shouldnít have done it. My husband didnít think I should
have done it. Probably the Bad Guy that sent me the missive originally
didnít think it was funny either. But I couldnít stop laughing for
days! I would be okay for a little while and then the thought of the
letter would pop into my mind and there I would go again. In fact,
reproducing it here for you has made me giggle about it all over again.
I could just imagine some low rent criminal in some far away country
getting my email. "Ludwig! My most estimated business fellowship!
We has got one, finally and only at last! We has hooked us a sucker!
The Idiot Sucker is for offering us all that we ask and more and seems
of an unredermindering type of honest business affections to us! Oh
Ludwig! Our fortunes is done at last and soon we will be of the Great
White Way Las Vegas dancing with the most renowndable hotties and
the loving of us! Ludwig, we bit the big one this time!"
Hereís my advice: never, never respond to any email you receive which
causes you any doubt at all. I donít really know what some brilliant
computer hacker might be able to get from you just because you responded.
Block the address when you get a letter like that. Tell your computer
that it is spam. But you have to admit, it is funny to think about
trying to turn the tables a little!
© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory
July 3, 2008 Column
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