Just got notice of my inheritance. The late Gianni Agnelli left me the sum of US$60,500,000 dollars. It think he was my uncle a few times removed. Or wait, was it Angelli?

No  matter, I am going to reply to the email I just got, “I wish to notify you that late Gianni Agnelli, had included you as beneficiary of his Will. He left the sum of sixty Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollars (US$60, 500,000.00) to you in the Codicil and last testament to his Will. This may sound strange and unbelievable to you; you are advised to contact Hollis Grey Chambers via our personal email address:…”

Now, besides being rich, I also learned I am a stud. Don’t believe me? Check out these emails I just got from Marina, “ Hi Rico, do you remember how we communicated with you? Long ago you could not see, I am Marina – with Russia, do you remember me? email me – let’s talk, I’m waiting!

Or, ” Hi there sweet! Would you mind to finding a young and nice girl of 24? My name’s Galina. I am from Ukraine. Have you ever heard that the loveliest girls in the world live in my country? Don’t even doubt! I want to invite you to a very nice international family life agency where hundreds of single people are looking for their future lovers. I long for finding a special person for serious relations or even family life. Aren’t you the one I am searching for?”

Phishing-ScamBut, it the inheritance and the stud thing doesn’t work out, I still got a great business going. It seems that my fantastic services are being sought out online. Check out this email, one of several I got this week alone:

” I will like to book for rooms in your place for my clients who will be com ing to your country and will like to stay in your place for some days for research and business purpose. I will really appreciate it if you can kindly get back to me with an urgent reply to my reservation details listed below …  Kindly get back to me as soon as possible with the total cost of the entire booking. And also let me know if you accept credit cards for payment so th at I can forward my credit card details to you for the payment. Note that a ll payment for the reservation shall be charged before the arrival of my clients.  Thanks. Best Regards, James Collins”

Online dating concept. Hand & Wine Glass Through Laptop Screen

The others are like about 10 of each.

And that is only this week.

OK, if you read this far down you probably figured out these are examples of spam emails circulating the online world.  Most are picked up by the spam filter, the others I have to manually delete.

What I wonder is how many people do actually get caught up in these traps?

As an experiment a couple of years back I answered one of the “accommodation” emails. From a Mr. Smith. Seriously, that is the name used.

Literally within minutes I got a response.

The emails back and forth were all legitimate, this Mr. Smith was looking to book rooms in my hotel (I never had or have a hotel) and was willing to send me the credit card(s) to make the reservations and full payment up front.

OK, I’ll bite.

I sent back a quote for US$15, 735 dollars. Totally made up, like five times what a typical reservation, if I hada hotel, would be. I even added the US$735 to make it look normal.

Again, within minutes I got confirmation and the credit cards. But with the proviso, that, after running the cards, I would send back US$2,500 to Mr. Smith. This because he did not have the ability to run (process) the cards and represented his commission on the deal. I got the wire instructions.

Of course I had no intention of running the cards, even less wire the cash. I knew this was a scam, the cards were probably stolen, there would be a charge back and I would be out the US$2,500 and lose my merchant account.

Before replying to the email I had contacted my credit card processor (ATH at the time). Spoke to the head of security, who informed me they were aware of the scam, that, as I had suspected, the cards were typically stolen, cards that not even their holders knew of yet (stolen on the way to their mailbox).  I was asked to pass on the card information when I got them. Which I did. Got a thank you. Never heard back from either ATH or Mr. Smith.


The moral of all of this? Don’t believe everything you read online, get notice of in an email, emails attempting to get your attention.

Some, like the ones I mentioned here are scams. Don’t fall victim to these scams types of scams.  Others are viruses meant to infect your computer, either with adware (redirect you to ads), to spyware to steal information from your computer and malware, basically to damage your computer.

None are good.