Monday, August 24, 2009

Baby Boomers Need to Beware of Spam

Just like me, I'm sure you get your share of unwanted or unwelcome emails. It's called SPAM. Spam is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it.

Did you get the email about winning the Euro Sweepstakes for millions of dollars---only to discover you had to send a couple thousand dollars of your hard earned money to get NOTHING in return?

Or what about the fake check sent--with instructions to go to the bank and cash it and then send the a portion of the proceeds back to a fictitious address? I can't believe the number of people who fell for that one.

But the email I received today caught my attention because I recognized the name of the sender. It came from a fellow baby boomer who lives in my area. We're not good friends but I know her and would try to help her if she needed it. The email read:

This had to come in haste, and it left me in a catastrophic state. I am in a terrible situation and I'm really in need of your help urgently. Yesterday, suddenly, I went to Africa for a program ...

That was my first red flag. The fact that she went to Africa SUDDENLY. Who takes a trip half-way around the world on a moment's notice?

Then the email went on to say:

Just wanted to seek your help on something very important, you are the only person I could reach at this point and I hope you come to my aid. Because something terrible is happening to me now, I need a favor from you. Right now,I am stranded in Nigeria because I forgot my little bag in a taxi where my money and passports were kept on my way to the Hotel were i stay, I have no money with me. I lost almost everything I have with me (which included my cash, diaries and credit cards). I am now owning a hotel bill of $550 and they wanted me to pay the bills soon else they will have to seize my bag and hand me over to the Hotel Management,I do not want to make a scene of this which is why I did not call the office or my house, this is embarrassing enough.please I need some help from you urgently to help me back home,and I need you to help me with the hotel bill and i will also need $950 to feed and help myself back home so please can you help me with a sum of $1500 to sort out this problems here. I need this help so much and on time because i am in a terrible and tight situation here,please understand how urgent i need your help.

At the end of the email, she promised to pay me back upon her return home.

In addition to the poor spelling and grammatical errors, I also noticed a few very important things. The email was not personally addressed to me and it wasn't signed by her. The closing said:

Thanks and get back to me soon.


Don't allow yourself to get bamboozled and hoodwinked by a scam like this.


Debbie Barth said...

I would love to reply, saying "you're on your on buddy", because calling them out for the harm they do, or calling them the scumbags that they are wouldn't faze them.

But actually, it is definitely better NOT to reply back to them at all.

Still, I wonder what recourse we do have with these sorts of emails.

Debra Stokes said...

Must be that time of year . . . I got an email from Chase telling me that I needed to reset my pin numbers on my account. This was a no-brainer since I DON'T HAVE A CHASE ACCOUNT!!! Sad that somebody has fallen for this scam and typed in valuable security information. We need to continue to ask God for wisdom and discernment - and thank Him for common sense!

LindaAlexander said...

I've rec'd these e-mails, as well. They've been featured on our NBC news as widespread scam efforts. Responding does absotively nothing because they're usually put on by some large groups w/technology to send out to wide audiences. There's really no one on the other end of the message ... just the PayPal account accepting money from those unaware enough to send it.

It really disappoints me that there are so many nasty people in the world. I know that sounds like such a childish, innocent comment but it's true. I can't fathom doing this to someone else & I guess I'm happy that I AM such a childish person in my heart.

Kathy Wulff said...

I laughed all the way through that message thinking that the spelling and grammar would drive you crazy - it did me! The spelling and grammar in those spams is always a dead giveaway. It's astonishing to think that people fall for that nonsense. I have received more dire warnings from banks that I have never heard of, advising me to log on and update my information ASAP. Yeah, right.

I am currently waiting for my lottery winnings from England, France, Spain and Ireland. Apparently they pulled my e-mail address out of thin air and decided to send me millions of dollars. I'll split it with you when it shows up.

Baby Boomer Business Coach said...

Don't forget to get your share of the earnings from the (Shah, widow, minister, gov't minister, former gov't minister) from (Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, UK) who just needs your bank account so they transfer the millions they are trying to get out of the country before some unscrupulous person steals it from them - for which you will of course receive a tidy sum for providing said bank account info!

I'm amazed they still actually find people who fall for this stuff!

Pam Archer said...

I almost wrote you to tell you that you had so many errors in you post....LOL Seriously, do people really fall for these e-mails?

I remember receiving ones about my "unclaimed inheritance" in England.

Eileen Williams said...

It amazes me the depths people will go to cheat and steal from others. As a kid and even a young adult, I used to answer all sorts of questions over the phone if the caller said she/he was doing a survey. Now, I've learned to politely hang up on these calls.
The Internet has made things even worse. Thanks for sharing this, Beverly, because I never knew that scammers would use the names of people you knew. What a shame that scammers have sunk so low!

Susan Adcox said...

It is unbelievable how many people fall for scams. One that really upsets me is the grandparent scam. This one is over the phone, not on email, so bad spelling can't give it away. And taking advantage of a grandparent's love is just about as low as a snake's belly!