E-mail scams daily occurrence for BC woman
For one Bridge City woman, spam e-mail is almost a daily occurrence, but they usually go straight to her spam (or junk) folder. However, Missy Flowers received an e-mail in her inbox that almost seemed credible but could have posed a significant threat.
“I will like to order for 8 big bouquets flowers for my Son”s wedding.”
Besides the obvious grammatical and punctuation errors, its wording is off for the English most of us speak and write.
For most of us, our e-mail spam folder (or junk folder) is full of a variety of ads we aren’t interested in viewing and proposals from strangers better left untouched, but sometimes one slips through the cracks.
“I guess it is because of my name,” explains Missy happily, “I get eight to twelve a day in my spam box but this one was to my specific e-mail.”
Missy, who did work as a florist years ago after marrying her husband Dirk Flowers, whose family owned a local flower and plant business, decided to answer this e-mail, fully knowing it was an attempt to steal from her. “I do not answer all of them but I just thought it might be fun to see what this person’s reaction would be.”
In her message response, Missy simply stated the cost for the requested 8 bouquets would be $2,000. The quick reply to her response by ‘Debbie Adams’ was a no haggling acceptance of the $2,000 price tag. There were instructions for accepting her credit card and sending fund through Western Union and private shipper to be coming and pick them up on ‘August of 31st’. None of this came as a shock to Missy who was aware this was a fraudulent activity from the get go.
“My kids ask me, ‘Mom why do you bother to mess with these people?’ and I tell them, maybe it keeps them to tied us for awhile and they leave the next person alone. “
The statistics on spam e-mail are alarming and becoming an ever evolving problem. According to www.spamlaws.com, 45 percent of all e-mail is said to be spam, or 14.5 billion e-mails globally a day. Yes billion with a ‘B.’
Some newer research puts it closer to 73 percent with the United States topping the list of countries sending unwanted mail and Korea coming in a close to second place.
The most prevalent type of spam is advertising-related e-mail; this type of spam accounts for approximately 36 percent of all spam messages.
The second most common category of spam is adult-related in subject and makes up roughly 31.7 percent of all spam. Unwanted e-mails related to financial matters are the third most popular form of spam, at 26.5 percent.
For those like Missy who has her spam guard on and quickly notices spam when it slips past the guard this is mostly just a frustrating part of growing technology. One just deletes them and gets to their real messages.
For others, including the elderly or younger people, those new to the e-mail world or less active on the internet however it can be a major and costly issue.
For businesses it is also costly. A research firm based in Palo Alto, California, found spam costs businesses $20.5 billion annually in decreased productivity as well as in technical expenses.
Local bank and law enforcement officials warn particularly against phishing e-mails. Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
They recommend never giving any type of information to anyone online that you do not know and trust.
“Credit card information, social security numbers and bank account information is what these people are usually trying to obtain,” Orange county sheriff spokeswoman confirms, “This is the way identity theft occurs.”
Bank officials agree and state it is very difficult to reclaim funds that are stolen this way since the customer willingly gave their information to someone.
When these companies are in foreign nations it is virtually impossible. The old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” has never been more true.
When an e-mail get through your spam guard or e-mail protection system, report it. Servers and officials are on constant watch to grow in knowledge of the new ways thieves are using to gain access to your money or your identity.
If you have young children, keep a watchful eye on their internet activities for not only the physical preditors but phishing scams that are offered to them can contain attempts to get their parents information as well.
Though Missy gets enjoyment at the frustration she causes these scammers she also uses a great deal of wisdom and never sends any personal information to them. This past one wanted to have her cell phone number so they could text each other. She also always insists on ‘cold hard cash in hand,’ something no scam artist will ever send.
“The main thing is one will wonder, ‘Why do they need my help getting access to their money? Or why are they asking me?’” Missy is correct.
There is no good reason why someone needs your help gaining access to their dead father’s millions, no matter what they are writing you. Report it and delete it.
Even better – if it goes to your spam mail – let it stay there and go in the trash, just like the junk snail-mail.
Talk about it with your children, the elderly who may just be getting into the new technology, or those who have never been connected ot our growing World Wide Web. Use your instincts. Keep your money. You and our economy can use it.