Thanks, but “No Thanks!”

18 Sep

This post is a little bit off-topic, but I’m sharing it with you, so that you are aware of the idiotic things people do, to try and bilk the Internet minions.

Lately, people have responded to our families need for a home, by sending us their best wishes, their hope that we find good fortune, and words of encouragement. And we’re grateful for that!

Unfortunately, some readers have decided that we’re “gullible rubes,” too stupid to figure out that they are playing on our hardship, by dangling enough carrots to make Bugs Bunny go crazy!

Our email accounts (and even our comment areas) are graced with these “offers,” as we are repeatedly informed that we have won an unsolicited lottery, been found the only surviving benefactor of countless millions of dollars, or “trusted” to assist in the removal of millions of dollars from a hostile regime bent on mayhem…

I find it odd that I didn’t know any of these people I’m supposedly related to, and even odder that I don’t remember entering any of these lotteries. I mean, I’m getting older, but I’m still capable of remembering a few facts, from time to time.

So, here’s a few words of warning to those out there curious about how these scams work;

If you have received a letter informing you of a large sum of money that could come your way: a business opportunity, a request for assistance in a financial transaction, or perhaps even an inheritance…

Is it a scam?

Did the offer come out of the blue from a total stranger?

Don’t take offense at this, but ‘Why you?’ No-one with a big financial deal in the offing is going to contact a stranger on the internet. I wouldn’t. You wouldn’t. They wouldn’t. If the offer is for lots, possibly millions, of dollars and you don’t know the person making the offer…

…then it is a scam.

What if the offer is for an inheritance?

Ask a few questions:

  • Do you even know the person who supposedly left you all this loot?
  • Do you know them very well?
  • Do other people in your family know them?
  • Does anybody in your family know them?
  • Can you verify their death?
  • Do you know of a reason for them to leave you this money?
  • Can you contact another source to confirm death & will?
  • Was the original approach addressed to you by name, or just “Dear Sir”?
  • How did they find you?

If the offer is for an inheritance from someone you have never heard of and your mommy never told you about…

…then it is a scam.

Did the offer come by email or fax?

More importantly, did it come addressed to the ‘contractor’, ‘beneficiary’, ‘director’ etc? Any legitimate offer would come to your street mail address, it would come from a legitimate (and verifiable) company, and it would be addressed to you by your legal name. If the offerer didn’t know your name and postal address…

…then it is a scam.

Did the offer come with a contact email address that is from a public email provider?

I don’t care what the excuse is, the Director of the Reserve Bank of Nigeria will not be using a Hotmail account.

Mind you, the scammers are getting more clever and you are likely to get email addresses from @accountant.com or @lawyer.com. But, if the contact email is from a public email provider…

…then it is a scam.

Did the offer ask you to ‘reconfirm’ your details, so they could protect your bank account or send you an ATM card?

Pay Attention! If they are “phishing” for information…

…then it is a scam.

Is it going to cost you money up front?

Hey, if I’m getting a few million, I can afford to make a phone call or two, but anybody who went to high school knows that normal business procedure is to adjust any financial settlement for costs incurred in the transaction. If it is going to cost you a sizable chunk of money and it cannot be offset against the money involved in the offer…

…then it is a scam.

Is it legal? Are you being asked to assist in a crime?

Here’s one of my personal favorites; It’s the “Shhhssssh! I’ve got a secret, and you can help” scam. Think carefully about the offer presented to you. Are you being asked to help a serviceman smuggle Sadaam’s lost treasure out of Iraq? Are you supposed to pretend to be someone you are not, to collect an inheritance or an unclaimed bank balance? Are you supposed to bill someone for something that you did not do in order to claim money that you never earned? Does it involve someone being over-invoiced to create a ‘fund’? If it seems to be based on an illegal operation…

…then it is a scam.

But, here’s the “Numero Uno,” the “Big Enchilada,” the “King of the Crap!,” number one favorite in my house, right now; It’s the “Personal Secret Shopper” scam. We got a check in the mail for several thousand dollars, made payable to us. It was “compensation” for services rendered, as we shopped Home Depot, Sears, and Old Navy, and then we were supposed to send the remaining balance (minus our $600 compensation fee) to another “Corporate” account.

The letter came from Canada, directed us to contact a woman in Delaware, but the actual check was written on an Insurance Company account in Texas.

We were instructed to deposit the check into our personal bank account, wait for it to clear, and then “secret shop” a few locations, buying specific items. Hell, we were even instructed to go to a couple of fancy restaurants, to “rate” the service, with the money! And then, after we’d jumped through all the hoops… we were to send the remaining balance away to the “Corporate Office,” to “test” Western Union” procedures. Uh-huh!

It’s a SCAM… Duh!

We contacted the Insurance Company in Texas, right? After all, it was their funds. Guess what? The check was forged. They advised us that even looking cross-eyed at the check would commit a few choice felonies, and several federal crimes. We’re waiting for an investigator to contact us, now.  Maybe we’ll get a reward. Nah, it’s an insurance company, so probably not…

Hey, I’m sorry to be the bearer of such bad news, of squashing your dreams of spending the rest of your days checking your stock portfolio on your WiFi Laptop, while cruising on your yacht through the Whitsundays with a bevy of buxom and scantily clad babes, but there seems to be no exception to that old adage: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Just so you know, to date I’ve been the winner of 93 lotteries, totalling $1,076,754,000.00 dollars, and I have 37 bank accounts I wasn’t even aware of. Plus, 19 of my relatives have “passed through the veil” to leave me with $315,400,000.00 give or take a penny or two…

And if you believe that one, I have some swamp land in Texas to sell you, cheap. But you’ll have to act fast, because I’m trying to keep it a secret from the other beneficiaries in the inheritance deal…

I need the money to pay the fees involved in smuggling Sadaam’s recovered (and secretly stashed) gold out of Iraq for a kindly and generous Airman who was touched by our circumstances and wants to help us rebuild our home… LOL!

Stay tuned!

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One Response to “Thanks, but “No Thanks!””

  1. Poonam September 19, 2008 at 4:41 am #

    ha ha this is right..I too must own about dozen ban accounts in countries I have never been too and won lottery worth millions. Of course, its some scam by a bunch of spammers. And the industry is really booming, even with US economy slowdown, there are new players everyday offering you more lotteries you have won.

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