If the e-mail looks too good to be true, it probably is - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Business

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If the e-mail looks too good to be true, it probably is

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Posted: Thursday, July 8, 2010 2:00 pm

I hope you guys can get along without me for a while because this time next month I should be lounging on my 50-foot yacht off the coast of Honolulu, sipping a cool beverage and thinking about you poor souls enduring the 110-degree heat in Phoenix. You see, I was informed the other day by a Barrister Jones from South Africa, who is in charge of my great-great-grandfather’s estate, that when my relative died, he left me a tidy sum of $18 million. The e-mail came as a surprise to me since I was unaware I even had a great-great-grandfather who owned a diamond mine in South Africa, but this has to be true. I mean it came in an e-mail, right?

The e-mail goes on to say that since this is such a large sum of money and the currency is different from South Africa to America, they will wire me a large amount of money and I keep all of it except for a very small “transaction fee.” This fee must be paid upfront, of course, since time is of the essence. I have one word for you if you see something like this in your inbox: Delete!

Recently, one of the TV court shows had a lady that was suing her former friend for $10,000 the friend had borrowed to participate in a scam. The borrower said she was not liable for the loan since it was all a scam. True story! The judge asked her if she was just plain stupid.

These days, there are a lot of unsavory people in the world who are out to make a buck any way they can so you need to be suspicious when something like this comes along. In these times of high unemployment, we need to exercise extra care. My dad used to tell me, “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it could be a dragon doing a duck impression but chances are, it’s a duck, son.” So if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Unscrupulous criminals will resort to anything in an effort to make a dishonest buck. Some stoop so low as to ask you to send money to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the name of a child (their child) but the mailing address is their house. This is downright despicable. The scams that really drive me nuts are the e-mails that say a young child is dying and in need of a transplant and that he or she will receive $1 for each forwarded e-mail. You cannot generate any money by forwarding emails. Sometimes, however, the e-mail is infected with a virus. Surprise!

If you receive e-mail notifications about something and you want to check it out, you can go to www.fraud.org, www.scambusters.org, www.snopes.com or any number of other websites displayed when you go to Google and type in “How can I tell if this is a scam?”

As for me, my wife and I will be living the high life from the inheritance of Good Old GG-Pa. I sure wish I could remember him!


Mike Smothers is president of Smothers Computer Services and lives in Ahwatukee Foothills. Send questions to mike@smotherscomputers.com or call (480) 753-7667.

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