More scams every day

Randy Riley - Contributing columnist

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Try to fool me every day, I better be on my guard every, single day.”

OK, everyone has probably heard the first part of that quote. I made up the last part because of all the scam attempts I’ve received in just the past several weeks.

It’s a real shame that people work so hard to separate us from our hard-earned money, but they do. It’s also a real shame that these scam attempts keep coming.

The sad truth is that the scams must be working. At least, they’re working enough to keep the scammers in business. You would have to assume, that if the scams weren’t working, the scammers would eventually stop. Instead, they seem to be coming more and more frequently.

Some of the scams are so obviously, ridiculously made-up that it’s hard to believe that anyone falls for them. However, some are pretty cleaver and we need to be very careful about how we respond.

Here are some examples. These are scams that have actually been received in my email inbox.

According to an email I received on Dec. 6, FedEx had a package for me that they were unable to deliver. All I had to do was open the email attachment to print a shipment label.

Well, that didn’t make much sense. Why would I need a shipping label for a package they couldn’t deliver? The email supposedly came from Andy McCabe, Senior Operations Manager for FedEx. The return email address looked suspicious. So, I called our local FedEx office and spoke with a delightful lady who said, “Whatever you do, don’t open that attachment. It’s a scam.”

Thank you, FedEx lady! She said they had had several recent complaints about the scams perpetrated under the fictitious name of Andy McCabe.

Other scams are much more obvious, but people are still falling for them every day. Think about it. Imagine that a scammer gets access to 100,000 email addresses and in one week he sends out scam-emails to all 100,000 people. Imagine that only one percent of these people even open the email. That’s a thousand people who will be exposed to the scam.

If only one percent of those gullible people end up getting scammed and, for the sake of this example, say they lose $1,000 each, that would be 10 people who might end up losing a total of $10,000. Not a bad weekly income for a scumbag scammer.

Earlier this year, I received a very polite email from someone who referred to himself as “Master John Lowish.” According to Master John Lowish, he had $14.2 million to invest in our country. He only needed my assistance to transfer those funds in my personal account so he could invest in our country and continue his education. I just needed to respond to his email to get more details. No thank you, Master Lowish.

I pushed “delete” and got rid of that email immediately.

Last month, someone going by the name of Abduganama Majeed, claiming to be from a village in the western region of Ghana, emailed me to let me know that his father, a wealthy mine field owner and high chief of their village, had died in a car crash. His father had deposited 250 kilograms of gold in a security company. That gold was supposed to be inherited by Abduganama, but, for some bizarre reason, Mr. Majeed needed my personal help to get his hands on all that gold.

Hummm … might his bizarre request be a scam in disguise? Absolutely.

Just last week, I was congratulated by an email from someone named Jeff Hunter. Jeff, using a email account, said I had won a brand new Chevrolet Captiva X6 Jeep (whatever that is) and over $1 million in a “United Kingdom satellite software email Promo” (whatever that is). All I needed to do was respond with quite a bit of personal information to Jeff’s email.

Not in a million years would I would respond to Jeff’s bogus request for my personal information.

However, out there somewhere, someone will send Jeff all the personal information he needs to bilk them out of thousands of their hard-earned dollars.

Remember – If an offer or request seems to be too good to be true … it is.

Never respond to any emails or telephone calls when someone wants any kind of personal information. Just delete the email or hang up. When in doubt, assume you’re being scammed.

Trust me. Abduganama Majeed is not going to make you rich.

Randy Riley is President of Council of Wilmington.

Randy Riley

Contributing columnist