Friday, January 27, 2012

Keep an Eye Out: Avoid Email Scams & Protect Yourself Online

Gnome keeping an eye out at the Smith College Botanical Gardens

Since I advertise my writing coach services on Craigslist, or maybe just because I have an email address, I receive many attempted email scams. I bet you do, too. 

The set up is generally the same: A parent in another country wants to send his or her child to live with me and/or study with me. Then the parent promises to send me a very large check in return for my services. In the end, I would owe that person money because the check would be fake. (Here’s more on the “tutor scam”.) 

No, I haven’t fallen for it. Someone I knew who worked in the rental business, however, did and she said that there was an apparently hastily written note thrown into the package with the very large check. The note said something about how the check was fake.

I am, however, mildly entertained by the language. So was Hila Ratzabi, who wrote an awesome poem and introduction about spam (often written like a scam) published by Storyscape

Below is one of the classic, oddly written, emails that I’ve received lately. Apparently this scammer didn’t even want to take the time to fill in the blanks. Perhaps it, or something like it, will inspire your own creative (legal) work?

So, beware, friends. This a classic and regular scam, but I’m assuming that (eventually) the scammers will get more adept.

On a more serious note, do all that you can to protect your online identity and internet hygiene. You might be interested (terrified and then busy with a to-do list) in this amazing Atlantic article by James Fallows, Hacked!

Scam email:

Am John
by name, I will like my  Son to relocate to your (CITY for holiday)
His name is Terry and is 14 years old .I want him to be busy in the
time of the day, because Am right now in CANADA for a very important
business and it will took me some month to get back to state  that is
why i  want him to be at your lesson Center , Am okay with your price
and i have decided to let him attend to your lesson and he will be
coming1 hour  per day in the Afternoon, also get back to me with your
own convenient time and days my son will be  coming in 3 days in a
week and when you will be available to start with my son..Hopefully
(next week is ok by me), i haves Someone that will always drives him
down to your lesson center..I will be happy if you can help my son
because my son is highly interested in your  tutor lesson and he can't
avoid to miss it..and i will be happy if you can show him some love
and caring also you can take him as your personal son Thanks

Kindly get back to me with your information below to be on the check.....

YOUR CELL PHONE NUMBER...(i can text you)

The reason why i need the information is that the payment will sent to
you through Ups Or FedEx Courier,So that the courier can deliver the
payment to you. Hope you understand me now.Thanks and hope to read
from you soon

Best Regards

"Smile and Dance to the song of life"

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