LJWorld.com weblogs Just about ... and more

Scammy scams.


An older friend (yes, there are some older than me!) received three different telephone scams in the past few weeks. They were obviously hoaxes and she called the police who told her she needed to get the name and telephone numbers of the scammers. Now if scammers were willing to be conned the way they con, there might be some benefit from such advice, but I doubt such a query would result in any information being given. My friend was very shaken by the phone calls and even went so far as to call the organizations mentioned in the scams - banks and telephone companies, just in case her future credit would be affected. I spent some time convincing her she would be fine.Today I got an e-mail from a supposedly "religious" woman in South Africa informing me that her dead husband had deposited over $4 million in an account before he died, and now she was seriously ill and wanted to give the money to someone who "would use it wisely for the Lord's use" or some such melarkey.In an attempt to be a good citizen I called the Police Department to alert them to the scam. They informed me it was an "old one" that had being going around for a long time (news to me) and told me to inform the Attorney General's office so they could alert the public. I dutifully called, and was curtly told to delete the e-mail. I would have thought - but maybe I'm wrong - that the e-mail could be traced to the perpertrator which is why I called in the first place.The question is: how are people alerted to such scams? I know the Journal World alerted us a few weeks ago about the "all over Lawrence calls" telling us our accounts had been compromised - and this, of course, was after the fact. Next time my friend gets a telephone scam, or I get one in an e-mail, do I just delete it without alerting anyone, and hope for the best that no-one falls for it?


eileenroddy 9 years, 7 months ago

How do they get our e-mail information?

Alison Carter 9 years, 7 months ago

Two separate battles are going on here.....the telepone scams can really scare some people, especially those who do have anxieties related to their financial situations....especially the elderly.The no-call list laws don't seem to work well.The internet scam emails from Nigeria and other exotic places are better deleted than reporting too often. There ought to be a Clearinghouse to which these emails might be forwarded......for possible investigation.Though the emails are quite entertaining at times, there are still those of us who fall for it......according to some news reports.I guess we have to pick our battles.......I'm choosing to hangup or delete.

ksdivakat 9 years, 7 months ago

ok marion...question?? Ive heard a hundred different ways to wipe out your hard drive, I am getting ready to toss a computer as it is so old, what is the best way to clear or destroy the harddrive??

tobyball 9 years, 7 months ago

I too have gotten the same email just this week. I deleted it. It does make you a wonder just how they got your e-mail addy. Especially scams like this from another country.

clyde_never_barks 9 years, 7 months ago

Marion -you seem to know alot about this scamming thing. Do you operate a business that employs the tactics/activities you described?

Sigmund 9 years, 7 months ago

Not to raise concerns even higher there is a DNS hijack exploit to be released next week. I can not tell you how "really really really bad(tm)" that can be, phishing on steroids. It basically allows attackers to send your computer to any site they want instead of the one you think you are going to without even touching your machine and last I heard only one half of public DNS servers had been patched."Recently, a significant threat to DNS, the system that translates names you can remember (such as www.doxpara.com) to numbers the Internet can route ( was discovered, that would allow malicious people to impersonate almost ANY website on the Internet. Software companies across the industry have quietly collaborated to simultaneously release fixes for all affected name servers. To find out if the DNS server you use is vulnerable, click below and then "Check My DNS"http://www.doxpara.com/You should not believe me till you check it out.http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/800113http://www.forbes.com/technology/2008/07/17/dns-security-flaw-tech-security-cx_ag_0717security.htmlhttp://online.wsj.com/article/SB121557348238938533.html?mod=googlenews_wsjhttp://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080726-new-dns-exploit-now-in-the-wild-and-having-a-blast.htmlAnd if you run Apple OS and think you are immune, you could not be more wrong (for so many reasons).http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyName=macintosh_os&articleId=9110907&taxonomyId=123

David Lignell 9 years, 7 months ago

Eileen,Ostrich is on target with my experience. Recently, I've had several emails from exotic places (every day) on my hotmail account. There's a selection to report "phishing" scams, but it doesn't seem to slow the steady stream. And yes, they can be entertaining. I've had a lot from the Irish lottery commission, a wealthy dowager widow, the British Bank of Greater London, Canadian division, you name it, and I've received it over this past month. Not sure what it is, but I've had more scams via email in the last month than in the last five years combined. Leave it to the scumbuckets to pray on the poor and elderly, who are often one in the same, during down economic times. Gotta hope there's a special Hades for those slime.

eileenroddy 9 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for all the informative response, Marion. I don't usually give out my e-mail information so wondered how/why this scammer got it. From what you said, some of these people have already moved way beyond most of us in working out ways to steal/scam/harvest/copy information to use for their own benefit.Some pretty savvy people seem to have been taken in by some of the more recent telephone scams since the schemes seem to get more and more "sophisticated." I just hope I can remain alert enough to remain on guard when contacted by phone. I feel "safer" with the e-mail stuff because I don't usually open an e-mail if I don't know the sender. The one today had a heading to do with church and mission, and it lulled me into opening it.

David Lignell 9 years, 7 months ago

That's a queston for our very own David Klamet. Dave?

gccs14r 9 years, 7 months ago

Never click on the unsubscribe link. That's a quick way to quintuple your spam. Also, never include your e-mail address in any kind of Internet post or in any online profile. If you feel compelled to post your address, do not format it nicely for the bots to harvest. Spam is difficult to trace, because there are millions of compromised computers out there that function as a sophisticated botnet for sending spam and viruses. Spam is now a multibillion dollar industry and is unlikely to go away anytime soon. Your best bet is to have multiple addresses, one for friends and family, one for e-commerce, and one or more disposable ones for message boards.

Laurie L Folsom 9 years, 7 months ago

Step 1: Do what Marion said.Step 2: Checkout www.snopes.com before believing "too good to be true" emails. Snopes has background research on everything from scam emails to "guilt trip" emails. Usually all it takes is copying the subject line of the email into their search bar to find out where the hoax began or why it is a hoax.Step 3: stop forwarding "guilt trip" emails (you know the kind where you prove your faith in Jesus or you help a little Guatamalan boy with his homework assignment by forwarding it to everyone on your contact list) NO MATTER WHO sent it to you. When you forward these emails, you are just adding your email address to a list for scammers to use. If you just can't resist sending an inspirational message to a friend, copy and paste the message into a new email rather than forward the original.

compmd 9 years, 7 months ago

Marion says:"A myth; the sender already knows that your address is good because the email did not bounce back to the server!"This is not necessarily true. A bounce does not have to happen. You can have domain catch-all addresses. For example, say I'm a mail server admin with one domain and ten valid email addresses on the server. If someone sends an email to an address that is not valid on that server, accept the message, route it to a spambox, list the IP in hosts.deny file, and be done with them. No bounce. If the remote host attempts to send mail to you again, they won't even be able to connect to your mail server, so again, no bounce. Also, you can configure your server to silently reject mail from unauthorized senders.DO NOT physically destroy hard drives, there are plenty of people out there who could use them. First, slamming away on a hard drive with a hammer will do practically nothing to it; you might be able to scratch the case. I've seen several that will even stop a bullet. Its completely irrelevant if you destroy the controller board on the exterior of the drive case; it is trivial to replace and make the drive operational again. The easiest way to wipe a hard drive is to use DBAN, available from www.dban.org. Burn a CD of it, boot the CD, and you can nuke the contents of the drive in several ways. Now you aren't being environmentally irresponsible by destroying a perfectly good hard drive. You can now safely give the drive to someone else who can use it. ostrich says:"There ought to be a Clearinghouse to which these emails might be forwarded::for possible investigation."There IS a clearinghouse for computer crime investigation, its called the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov), operated by the FBI.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 9 years, 7 months ago

compmd says,"There IS a clearinghouse for computer crime investigation, its called the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov), operated by the FBI."Good advice for those that actually want to submit a report that may get acted upon. I was going to look around for it, but you got it up there before me.You may be able to get information from a phishing site as to where and who is hosting the site, but they are often in another country in Asia or one of the former Soviet states that really don't care what's happening.

beerdrinkingfool 9 years, 7 months ago

I have been getting one of late ,that is the "your pay pal account need updated ",or " pay pal account notice". I just delete them

kusp8 9 years, 7 months ago

Also, another way that your e-mail can be harvested is by putting an html link such as "mailto:spammerscanlickmybowls@thisisfake.com", which then creates the hyperlink to e-mail you, on a personal website. Spammers will use utilities that hijack Google and search for personal e-mails. The best thing to do is find a friend of a friend of a friend who's roommate's a professional IT person and can spam and post the spammers personal information online.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 7 months ago

Marion: "The rule of thumb is that if you don't know who sent you the email, don't open it!"What?! and forego my million dollar prize?

TopJayhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Thanks Marion.. That was very helpfull. My wife got a call a week ago that said someone had tried to write a $4,000.00 check on my wifes' credit card. They said an account rep. would talk with her. Then they left her on hold for almost ten minutes before she hung up. She called her bank the next day, and they said they had recieved no activity on the account, that these were scammers. Am I going to get a huge phone bill next month because wife stayed on the phone for so long?

irishdevil99 9 years, 7 months ago

If you've got some spare time and really want to punish the email scammers, you could always read up on this site and follow their lead.http://www.419eater.com/They're a group of hilarious stories in which potential scammees are turning it around on the scammers, and doing so in a way that causes them to spend lots of time and resources that they then can't use to scam others.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 7 months ago

clyde_never_barks: "Marion - you seem to know alot about this scamming thing. Do you operate a business that employs the tactics/activities you described?"Barking dogs never bite.

eileenroddy 9 years, 7 months ago

Thanks to everyone for this important information. Part of all of this is just making ourselves aware, and letting others know as well. Of course, some older people who only have telephone and don't use the internet will continue to be vulnerable to the type of calls TopJayhawk's wife got. I try the approach "when in doubt, don't...." If my accounts are in trouble the Bank will inform me by mail, or give me information about my accounts rather than asking for any official information.Thanks again to everyone who helped inform me and others about ways to protect ourselves from the scammers.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 7 months ago

Do I hear the faint echo of outingbulkerbiz?

Deb Stavin 9 years, 7 months ago

I must admit, I enjoy reading those foreign sob story spam emails. I just like the outlandish stories, and the crazy syntax. I wonder who actually authors these letters. It boggles my mind to imagine that anyone might actually respond to them. I got one a couple of weeks ago, and I include the text here, for your reading pleasure!Cheers,Deb Stavin ----------------Greetings!Dear Brethren,Let me first of all inform you, I got your email address from a mail Directory and decided to mail you for a permission to go ahead. I am Mrs. Mercy Suzanne Yakov and I am married to Dr. David Yakov a Russian who worked with a construction company in West Africa for twenty Years before he died in the tsunami disasters, we were married but without Any children.Since his death I decided not to re-marry and presently I am 59 Years old. When my late husband was Alive he deposited the sum of $9.5M. (Nine Million Five Hundred Thousand U.S. Dollars) with a Security Company. Presently this money is still with the Security Company and the management just Wrote me as the beneficiary to come forward to receive the money or rather Issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf if I cannot come over.I am presently in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment for Cancer of the lungs in a hospital, I have since lost my ability To talk and my doctors have told me that I have only a few months to Live and I reject it in the name of the LORD Amen!!! I want a person that is trustworthy that will utilize 90% of this money to fund orphanages and widows around the world but in my name Mrs.Suzanne Yakov.As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Security Company. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will prove you as The new beneficiary of this fund.Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated here in and Keep this contact confidential till such a time this funds get to your Custody. This is to ensure that nothing jeopardizes my last wish on Earth to God.I await your urgent reply.Regards, Mother Mercy Suzanne Yakov

Deb Stavin 9 years, 7 months ago

The Federal Trade Commission supposedly (take a grain of salt here, folks) investigates complaints about spammers. Their web site is www.ftc.gov/spam/. They say that if you get spam email that you think is deceptive, forward it to spam@uce.gov. Include the full header if possible. The FTC uses the spam stored in this database to pursue law enforcement actions against people who send deceptive email.Also, from time to time emails go out informing people of a National Do Not Email Registry, similar to the Do Not Call Registry. The email invites you to sign up, promising to free you of spam forever. BEWARE! The Do Not Email Registry is a phishing scam. No such registry exists. The Do Not Call Registry, however, is real. In my experience it really has helped keep the telemarketers away. I get only about 2 calls a month now.Deb Stavin

Commenting has been disabled for this item.