Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Not Bold: Identity Theft

Someone extremely close to me just had his identity stolen, his email hacked into, and his address list dunned for money. The message that went out to his whole list claimed he was stranded in London and so please wire $4,000 immediately.

One good clue: The letter-writer clearly wasn't entirely at home in English.

Then a second identity theft message said: this is not a scam, I'm seriously in trouble, send the money.

Well, I can't imagine anyone did--though he did get thoughtful responses from his friends, patients, children, ex-wife, and someone he hadn't seen since high school.

Turns out that the creative letter-writer is in Nigeria with a bank account at the ready in London. (Why is Nigeria the world scamming-business headquarters, when there are a number of other places with some dishonest people who need money? See L.A. Times profile "Nigerian Cyber Scammers." For a non-cyber view: a friend of mine grew up in Nigeria and still misses the country. see her wonderful book: The Gods of Noonday, which is one of the most beautiful tributes to a river I've ever read.)

Here is my message to these multi-national Nigeria-based Keystone Krooks: Get your own identity and then maybe some money will follow. Be yourself. Long-term, it's a much better strategy.




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6 comments:

mamie said...

For some reason my husband gets about four or five emails a day from those scammers. He's always calling to me from his office next door, "Hey, Mamie, listen to this: If we'll only wire $5000 to an address in London...." At least it give us a laugh a day, which is a rarity in the homebuilding business right now.

Sorry about your friend. It's not funny when it's personal.

Peggy Payne said...

I've gotten some fairly imaginative epistles too, Mamie. A lot of them are read-aloud funny. I've never been asked to rescue anyone I know though. Just to claim inheritances. I'm saving that option for a rainy day.

Peggy Payne said...

I got one of those letters today: the writer asked me to do her a favor and save her soul.

I'm to do this by accepting 30% of a 15.5 million fortune, making sure not to speak of this opportunity to any third-party wicked people.

mamie said...

oh my god - that is a hoot! Maybe they send them to brighten our day???

Peggy Payne said...

Could be. At any rate, they make up for the evangelist who used to send me snail mail asking for money.

Once he enclosed a shower cap with a red outline of a hand on it that was supposed to represent the hand of God. And once he sent a large folded up piece of paper and said it was a prayer rug.

I used that shower cap for a long time.

Mojo said...

I should really adjust my spam filters I guess... the amusement quotient here has to be worth having to delete a few hundred messages.

My very favorites though are the ones for the Russian mail-order brideskis. I'd laugh a lot louder though, if that weren't such a serious and prevalent

I have a whole collection of email subjects and in some cases messages just waiting for a slow blogging day...