Internet Scams: Thank God for the internet!

You just gotta love the people who sit around and think these things up! Over the past two days, I received two e-mails, the first (copied as sent below as Letter 1), was a very official looking letter from Mr. Edward Meyers who was polite enough to inform me that no less than the Government Accountability Office (GAO) of United States Government and also the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had instructed he, Mr. Edward Meyers, working on their behalf, to immediately within 72 banking hours – wow this must have been very important – to transfer to me the sum of US$45 Million. Nice!

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LETTER 1

From The Desk Of Mr Edward Meyers
Phone: +1 530 540 5419
Dear valued Customer,

My Name is Mr Edward Meyers, A citizen of the United States,52 years Old. I reside in Hobbs, New Mexico,My residential address is as follows;1320 Linam Street, Hobbs, NM 88242, USA,i work in the remittance department with Bank Of America in collaboration with Gulf General Investment here in New Mexico, United States Of America.

Am contacting you concerning your overdue payment of US$45 Million which have been endorsed for onward transfer to your destination depending on your choice to receive your full payment,you have the legal rite to indicate by return email, the preferable method to receive your payment within 72 Banking hours.

Bank Of America will be willing to receive your full  contact details in your next email,so as to furnish you with the necessary steps to deliver your funds within 72 Banking hours.

Considering the latest payment instruction we received few days ago from THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE(GAO) AND ALSO FROM INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND(IMF),You will not be required to pay for any money transfer charges until your funds are delivered to your bank account,but you must present valid and verifiable details of your payment to my office prior to the final release of your payment so as to indicate and assure that you are the rightful beneficiary to the funds in our custody.

Do not hesitate to call me on  my contact phone numbers given below for more details or send an email.

I will be expecting to hear from you urgently

Sincerely yours,

Mr Edward Meyers
For Bank Of America,
NM, USA.
Direct phone: +1 530 540 5419

(I have highlighted the errors in the letters in red)

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Of course I thought, finally, the government is going to reimburse me my share of the profits from the car companies for those bail out loans we gave them a few years ago. So, I went on the internet to Microsoft’s Bing.com and looked up the latest information and I quickly realized they have not paid it all back yet, and the last bit that I read showed it was still in deficit.

Hum, what on earth could it be? I know someone owed me this money who could it be? Then, I realized it had to be the repayment from the banks for all that bailout money and the $3 or 4 Trillion that the Fed has printed just for them in the past 5 years. Yea, that had to be it, my portion of all that money plus the profits had to be about $45 Million.  So, this time I went to Google and looked this up and to my surprise, this has not been paid back either. Wow, who on earth owes me this money? It has to be someone big or some government. So, I used Bing and Google to do some research and you know what I found?  None of the people or nations to whom we have loaned large amounts of money have paid us back! So where could this money be coming from – clearly owed to me, I mean just look at the letter, its official?  Look at it, it even has the names of the institutions in all caps and the hub of government banking and the IMF is in Hobbs, New Mexico after all. Well, isn’t it?  Wait just a minute, I thought, “I think the hub of international banking is in Taos not Hobbs, let me go back to the internet and check this out!”

And you know what I found on Google? They showed it was not in either Hobbs or in Taos.  Clearly, given this official letter, the guys at Google had this wrong, so I went to Bing, and they said the same thing! Then, I remembered that I read on the internet once that Google said Bing was just stealing their search results and they had put up false information to catch Bing doing it.  This clearly must be the case so I decided to go to the undisputed authoritative source of every answer ever known to man; the true sage, seer and soothsayer; the one location I knew would have the correct answer.  I simply could not believe I didn’t go there first! Of course, I went to Wikipedia. And you know what they said?  The same damn thing! So I decided to let this sit for a bit, I mean we are talking $43 Million! That’s a lot of Mocha Cappuccinos if you know what I mean! Even the great Wikipedia has to get some things wrong – don’t they?

I was really flummoxed.  I knew someone had to owe me this money.  For God’s sake it was $43 Million. I’ve worked my whole life for this money and by George, whoever the hell George is – I need to go look that up on the net soon, but right now I had to get my $43 Million I only had 72 banking hours – I was going to find this out and get my money!  So, I replied to the Desk Of Mr Edward Meyers – I did not correct the caps or the punctuation either cause I did not want to take a chance to have this, clearly powerful, man get upset and not get me my money.  I asked the esteemed Mr. Ed what the nature of the money owed was for. Just like the professional that he is, he replied very quickly (Letter 2 below) – and he is obviously a very dedicated man, I see he replied at 2:05am from his personal e-mail account just like the first letter. In this letter he even sent me his Official Bank of America ID and the Official Form for me to claim my money. I quickly read the letter. Wow, I thought, finally I can get the money I am owed, with the $43 Million I’ll be able to buy that island in the Pacific I always wanted from Larry Ellison but I remembered I didn’t know who owed me the money nor what it was finally being paid for. Hey I don’t want to take something that is not mine so…

——————————————————————————————————————-

LETTER 2

Ed

Attn: Thomas W Locker,
Fund Beneficiary

This is to acknowledge the receipt of your last email message, first i want to bring to your notice that i made the first contact with you considering the irrevocable instruction given to me by the United States Accountability Office, Federal Reserve Bank(FRB) and our home bank,i have been instructed to handle and supervise the remittance of your payment to your designated account,for us to serve you better, you must adhere and oblige to all our directive.

We are not associated with scam as we stand to maintain the integrity and good image of our bank,this is why we advice most of our non resident customers to make there way down to our bank so that we can finalize with there payment in person instead of communicating from a distance, we will be happy if you can come down to our bank to take care of all the process for the release of your funds to your bank account.

If you have been dealing with corrupt officials and con artists in the past concerning your payment, then i want to let you know that human beings are not the same, for the fact that you have been deceived by corrupt officials doesn’t mean everyone are the same.

We are very busy officials especially in my office, from the payment file in my office, the said amount of $45 Million was approved to you as your entitlement, in our bank, an entitlement represents thus; Lotto Winning price, Inherited Funds, Contract Payment, Compensation or Accrued Interest etc, i have been assigned by the above mentioned authorities to carry out the transfer of the said amount to your destination via Bank Wire transfer, Bank Draft, ATM CARD or Online Banking System depending on your choice to receive your payment, but if you are not the owner of this email account or if you are not whom you said you are,kindly do not hesitate to indicate in your return email message immediately to avoid any misdirection of funds to a wrong beneficiary and for us to end every correspondence with you on this subject matter.

Before the further release of the said funds to your Bank Account,The below stated required documents has to be observed by the Financial Control Department of this bank prior to the final release of the funds to your bank account.

1. The first Two pages of your international passport or driver’s licence.
2. Your residential and office address.
3. Your Direct  phone and fax numbers.
4. Your occupation and position .

Also endeavor to complete  the attached form to the best of your knowledge and return to me via email attachment only.

We shall get back to you upon the confirmation of the above mentioned details from you. Call me immediately on my direct phone number below  as soon as  you return the complete  form for more directives,and also  get back to me in the email.

Note that you still have the choice to indicate your preferred option of payment eg; Online Banking System,Swift Wire Transfer, ATM Card or Bank Draft.

I have attached copy of my identification to this email message for your own records and for security reasons.

We are deeply sorry for the delays on your payment due to your dealings with some corrupt officials before now,note that our involvement in your payment was as a result of some irregularities detected in your payment file, we are here to protect your interest and i assure you of an excellent and smooth transaction until the end, we are working to protect the image and dignity of our bank, once again, i apologize for your previous traumatic experiences with some corrupt and fake officials in the past and we are assuring you the best here in our bank, all we need here is your sincerity,honesty and most importantly, you must stop further correspondence with any other office regarding your payment, except we have asked you to do so. We expect you to adhere to the above instructions for us to serve you better.

I expect to hear from you urgently.

Edward Meyers
For Bank Of America
Direct Phone: +1 530 540 5419

——————————————————————————————————————-

So I re-read the letter and Mr. Ed didn’t tell me what I asked him. When I re-read the letter I was struck by all the punctuation and spelling errors, and I wondered why he spent most of this letter telling me he was not a scam, that this was all legit. I had not suggested in the first letter that it was a scam. I know someone owed me the money, I was just trying to find out who! But the thing that really got me wondering was when he referred to me as a non-resident customer.  I mean after all, I am an American, I live in America, I was born in America and he said that the money was instructed by the American government to pay me the damn money so who the hell was he to tell me I ain’t no damn resident!  I’m a proud redneck, from good redneck stock don’t tell me I ain’t no American! Now he had my back up! Well let me tell you, I took one good long look at that “City Slicker” face on that boy, and this old redneck decided, I was gonna give him a piece of my mind!

So, I started to write him a pretty terse response to the tune of, “Hey Jack, do’t you be callin’ me no damned…” I thought I need to find out some more about this guy. You know he may be the kind of “refined gentleman” who don’t take kindly to plain talk, so I went back to the net and I looked up ol’ Mr. Ed hisself and you know what I found out? This might be some kind of scam!  Yep, I now it’s hard to believe – with $43 Million and all – but Mr. Edward Meyers has sent a bunch of letters to a whole lot of people.  Now, when I first saw this I thought it made sense cause after all if it was a bailout repayment, or something like that, hell he had to send letters to every single tax paying American – and I did not envy him that job let me tell you – but I noticed that his address kept changing.  In one of the letters, he lived and worked for B of A  in Chicago, On anther, it was In Hobbs.  In still another, He worked in Hobbs but he lived in Chicago. Well, I knew there ain’t no way that a cheap old bank like B of freakin A is going to pay for this guy to commute between Chicago, which is way up north in Illinois, all the way down to Hobbs, which is in New Mexico. I went back to Bing and looked that up and it’s 1250.1 miles. Hey Jack, at 28 cents a mile that’s over $350.00 one way, $700.00 each and every day.  No way BofA is gonna pay that! So now, I got to go do some more damn internet searchin!

OK so now, I am suspicious. I opened up that form he included and I took a good look. And, I see all this information I need to send to get the money. And, I don’t see no CASH option, not even an option for a Cashier’s Check or a simple Check.  Every option needed me to send my bank account information and wire instructions.  Well, how do I know he can get that information correct when he goes to send me my money?  He can’t even correctly spell my name even though it was clear in my reply letter – granted the poor guy was working at 2:00am in the morning but hell he’s supposed to be a pro – so you know what I decided?  If he can’t tell me who the heck owes me the money, and he can’t spell my name right in the e-mail, I ain’t gona take no chances! Nope! Not with no $43 million buckeroos. No Way!  So I sent him an e-mail a few minutes ago and I told him clear as day.

“Mr. Ed, I said, if you don’t want to get in trouble with the U.S. government you had better send my either the cash or a cashier’s check cause I don’t trust you to send me the money using the internet. The way you spell it could end up anywhere in the whole wide world. Probably somewhere in Lockerby, Scotland, and then I’d be in a fine fix trying to get someone there to help me get my damn money back! And since there was 72 banking hours on the time clock and we have burned up about ½ of that time due to your mistakes, I would suggest you get cookin! Cause, I don’t want to have to call your superiors and tell them how you screwed up the business of the U.S. government, for me and every other taxpayer waiting for our $43 Million. Oh yea, one last question Mr. Ed, what’s the difference between a banking hour and a regular hour, I’m assuming they are 60 minutes but maybe not, maybe they are bankers minutes. I hear tell banker get short days, so I’m worried they ain’t 60 minutes but are something much less, and in that case you and I could already be screwed!

Sincerely;

Thomas W. Loker
Fund Beneficiary & Valued Customer

I’ll let you know what I hear!

——————————————————————————————————————-

While the above was meant to be a bit humorous, the point is a serious one.  All you need to do to debunk most of these scams is to go online and use Bing or Google and do a bit of research.  Often you can type the subject of the e-mail and append the word “scam” and you will get many hits and details on the scam.  The old adage, “if something is too good to be true it probably is,” are words to live by in this internet world.

Here are some tips from the FBI e-Scam site:

  • Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail.
  • Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
  • Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files; the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Scan the attachments for viruses if possible.
  • Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mail messages that ask for personal information.
  • Always compare the link in the e-mail to the link you are actually directed to and determine if they match and will lead you to a legitimate site.
  • Log on directly to the official website for the business identified in the e-mail instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited e-mail. If the e-mail appears to be from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you deal with frequently, your statements or official correspondence from the business will provide the proper contact information.
  • Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the e-mail to verify that the e-mail is genuine.
  • If you are requested to act quickly or there is an emergency that requires your attention, it may be a scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly.
  • Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Finally, check these additional sources to become even more informed on safe online shopping. Previous Holiday Shopping Tips public service announcements can be viewed on IC3.gov at the following links: http://www.ic3.gov/media/2012/121120.aspx, http://www.ic3.gov/media/2011/111121.aspx, and http://www.ic3.gov/media/2010/101118.aspx.

Finally, having been in technology for many, many years – going back to the 1970s – I have seen these scams evolve as technology as evolved.  It is technology that has enabled the current method of the scam and the same technology that gives us the power to protect ourselves.  All we need to do is make the effort to think, and do a bit of research before we act. If these scams come into your e-mail world make sure you report them. Don’t assume that the authorities know. Go to the FBI Scams and Safety area and report it. You can also report e-mail fraud here at the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

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About Thomas W. Loker

Meet the Author - Thomas Loker is a Startup Consultant and Advisor at SYDK.ORG, Angel Investor, Mentor and Advisor at Keiretsu Forum & Venture-Med and an established operations guy with serial successes with startups, transitional companies and turnaround situations. He has had a long career serving in the fields of science, technology and healthcare related industries. He is an active board member in both for-profit and not-for-profit companies. Tom has written numerous articles in the areas of healthcare, technology, politics and the economy. He is currently the principal author of Health Reform 2.0: Beyond partisan divide lies pragmatic solutions – a whitepaper focused on moving beyond the partisan rhetoric of the ACA (Obamacare) to a simple, efficient, effective, accessible and affordable healthcare system. He maintains a passion for serving the underserved and has founded, supported and worked in various companies to serve the most fragile among us. Because of his expertise on the business of healthcare, he was invited to conduct multiple congressional briefings on healthcare reform in Congress, meeting with more than 100 congressional representatives. He has been a guest on HuffPost Live to talk about health care issues, and is a frequent keynote speaker on the topic for many groups and events. Prior to his latest book, The History and Evolution of Healthcare in America: The untold backstory of where we've been, where we are, and why healthcare needs more reform, Tom published “Delusional Ravings of a Lunatic Mind”—a collection of essays on healthcare, politics and their interaction with the economy, available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and other bookstores. Tom's passion for Music is currently expressed by his role as VP Operations and General Manager of David Victor Presents. See www,davidvictorpresents.com to find out more. You can find Tom online at: Website: http://www.loker.com Blog: https://tloker.wordpress.com LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/thomaswloker Photography: http://www.loker.net

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