Endless Musings

This blog contains the random thoughts, feelings, and observations of a slightly "left of normal" young woman.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Spam Mail / Con Artists / Tsunami Relief

Whenever I get into work one of the first things I do is check my business email. It never ceases to amaze me how much spam mail I get at work. Here is a list of some of the mail that was waiting for me today: an offer for a college loan (great, but I'm done with college.) An offer to take out a 2nd mortgage (I live in an apartment.) An offer for 50% off a motorized wheelchair (now that's just an insult!) Not to mention offers for credit cards (thank you, but I have enough debt) and "free" giveaways (that of course are never really free.)
I never respond to any of these emails. Nor have I ever visted any of these companies online or otherwise. I even have a spam blocking feature on my email that seems to work because it does automatically block any junk mail and mail from companies or persons whom I have blocked previously. Yet, I still get all this spam.
I guess on the plus side spam email isn't as bad for the enviroment as the paper junk mail that used to prevail, but it is annoying.
The worst spam that I have received are the emails claiming to be from a lawyer (or family member) of someone who died with a large sum of money in some obscure country with really messed up estate laws. The person goes on to claim that all they need so the family can collect their inheritance is for them to move the money to an account in the USA. They offer to give a large sum of this money to me if I would be so kind (and gullible) as to help them by emailing them back with my banking information ect.
Obviously, I have never responded to these emails. I knew before I ever received such email that it is a scam.
I have always deleted these messages right away and used my spam blocker to block further email from the sender. This is what people should do if they get such an email. I would like to think that most people know this. However, if these scam artists never managed to con anyone this way I would imagine that they wouldn't continue to send these messages to anyone.
I would bet that in the aftermath of the tsumani there are many emails of this nature being generated by many con artists. I haven't received any yet myself (maybe the spam blocker is doing some good.)
I would hope that everyone who has email (or even a phone for that matter) will be very careful about giving money or banking information to anyone who emails or calls them asking for donations. These scam artists like to take advantage of peoples' desire to help after a crisis.
If you want to help tsunami victims (or with any other relief efforts) donate only to organizations that are well established and legitimate. A good organization to donate to is the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Cresent Societies. It's basically the international version of the Red Cross. They have a website where you can read about their organization and make a donation. One of the things I really like about them is that you can specify which cause you want your money to go their web address is www.ifrc.org.
I would hope that anyone who hasn't already donated would consider it. Every little bit really does make a difference.

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