Scams: A Guest Post by David N. Walker

It’s another round of the Life List Club blog hop!  Here with me today is David N. Walker, Texan Extraordinaire!  He’s here today to teach us all a lesson about scams.  And you can find me over at Jenny Hansen’s blog, More Cowbell, talking about why wearing pajamas might be the best thing you do for your career!  Sort of…

You can also visit the other Life List Club crew by clicking on any of the names in the sidebars of our blogs and we’ll all be around in the comments section!  See you there!

Scams by David N. Walker

WANA: We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

Not too long ago, everyone in my Yahoo contact list received an email purporting to be from me and stating that I was stranded in Madrid penniless and without ID because I’d been mugged. More recently I received this email.

Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is Barrister Manuel Francisco Suarez Calafell, an Attorney at Law, in Madrid-Espana.

I am writing to notify you of the unclaimed inheritance deposit (US$37.3Million) of our late client, Mr. MROTZEK GERD who passed on to the Great beyond on August 21st, 2008 in the Spanair Flight JK-502 2 Crash in Madrid.

I got your name and email address through a web search engine in my quest to get a reliable individual who shall work with me in claiming this inheritance deposit since all efforts to get the biological relative has proved abortive.

Conclusively, I await your urgent response to include the following:(1).Your full Names & Address. (2).Your Telephone and Fax numbers. (3).Your business name if any: for more information on how to release the inheritance deposit, procedure and legality of this claim via email:

Manuel Francisco Suarez Calafell (Esq)
Attorney At Law

Has Spain become the new Nigeria? I haven’t received anything lately from any Nigerian bankers asking me for a processing fee so they could send me several million dollars. Maybe someone from Spain stole all their computers.

Have you been spammed with any junk like this letter? Had your email account commandeered or your identity stolen? This seems to be growing in seriousness.

David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. Since his retirement from insurance a few years ago, he has devoted his time to helping Kristen Lamb start Warrior Writers’ Boot Camp and trying to learn to write a successful novel himself.

23 responses

  1. Thanks for hosting me today, Jess.

  2. It’s a great reminder to always be aware and not to blindly believe everything you read. Thanks, David.

    1. Thanks, Marcia. You’re right.

  3. It stinks that these scams go on and it stinks that folks are willing to believe that they can have a bunch of “free” money and fall for the scams. What I hate the most is that they do hack the accounts of innocent folk and use the accounts to send out their spam, thereby risking the reputation of the person and causing some folk to trust.

    The scam I see a lot of on Twitter lately is the DM that says something like “have you seen what they’re saying about you?” or “Have you seen this horrible picture of you?” Then the link. While my inner adolescent is sometimes tempted to click, I know they’e a scam. Even if one were true…who cares? I’m a writer, everybody knows I’m crazy anyway. LOL

    1. Right, Sonia. I get those frequently. I’m afraid if I opened one it would unleash a virus and crash my computer.

    2. I got that too and messaged the sender to ask about it cause it was weird that someone I just met would send that. Yep, found out it was a scam and so glad I didn’t click on it.

      1. I try to always let the “sender” know too and I don’t open them. Ever.

  4. My hotmail account was hacked by the “I’m lost and need money” scammers. I almost lost my account, because they had changed the name and password, and I had to prove to Hotmail that I was truly the owner of the account. It stinks when these happen, and the best thing to do is be proactive and regularly change your passwords, and make the passwords difficult to figure out.

    1. Thanks, Lara, and you’re right about the passwords. I forgot to mention that.

  5. David, some of these scams can be insidious. With each passing year, the internet becomes more indispensable. New security safeguards are put into place and the scammers come up with more ingenious scams or viruses. Some of these scammers could be successful if they applied themselves to something that was legal.

    1. I think that’s probably true of most big-time crooks, Gary. Especially confidence men, which is more or less what these scammers are. Thanks for stopping.

    2. LOL. I really like your last comment.

  6. I don’t know if it will help anyone else but here’s what I do (and so far, I’ve never been hacked):

    1. Use one email address for all your online forms and mailing. Seriously, every time I have to fill something out to get something I want, I use that address (which I never check). It’s my “spam” address. I have an email addy for writing and and another one for my business. Both of those come to my phone. My spam address goes nowhere.

    2. Keep the virus-checking program on your computer running and up to date. I know it slows things down, but so do viruses.

    3. Change all your passwords at least once a year. Once a quarter is better, but we’ll take what we can get.

    4. Never give out your home address outside your friends and family if you can manage it. Seriously, use a post office box if you can afford it.

    5. Do not open anything from someone you don’t know. Ever. If it was really important, the person will call you and ask whether you missed their email.

    6. If the subject line is cryptic, run a virus checker on it. In fact, make sure you have your virus checked cover your email at all times.

    That’s all I do. I know it seems cloak and daggerish, but it works for me.

    1. Thanks, Jenny. I do most of that stuff, but you have stated it so succinctly. I’m sure this will help people.

    2. SMART, SMART RULES! I do most of them, but will improve my tactics. I did get hacked last year from clicking on a Jane Austen book cover! Who knew? Those clever scammers, hacking in on my addition for all things Austen! Got it fixed now, and definitely learned a lesson.

  7. I’m curious: how many of y’all are Macs vs. PC’s. I’ve never heard of an Apple user getting a virus.

    David, I remember getting this email from you, but the grammar was so poor …well, alas, I knew you’d been hacked. Did you ever find out the method to the hacker’s madness?

    1. I’ve never had a Mac, Renee, but I understand from friends who use them that they are pretty much impervious to viruses. I don’t know about hacking.

    2. Waaah! I don’t like Macs. I’m allergic to technology that doesn’t let me right click on things. LOL

  8. Mac’s rule! I’ve had them for 7 years and never gotten one virus. But I think your email can be hacked regardless of what computer you have :-/

    1. Actually, I’ve been thinking about getting a Mac. Thanks, Ingrid.

  9. I’m late to the party but oh, yes. Over the years I’ve been contacted by so many people from other countries (Nigeria in particular) who are overwhelmed with the urge to give me lots of money if I’d just share some private information. Um … ok. I think David also wrote on his own blog about the scam email from a friend who is abroad and robbed and needs you to send money to help him/her get home … a colleague of mine was a victim of that scam as well. What amazes me is that this stuff must still work on some people, because otherwise why would the scammers still be taking the time to do it?

    In a non-computer related scam, I have a friend whose young adult daughter lives in a different state than him. His mother – who lives in the same state as him and rarely sees her granddaughter, received a call that her granddaughter had been arrested with some friends and needed money wired for bail. She followed up, wired money to the supposed “police station” and THEN told my friend, who immediately sensed something was amiss. He called his daughter and found out that she was at work, not jail, and then called the police. It turned out his mother was a victim of a scam on elderly people with grandchildren that was under FBI investigation because the calls were actually coming from another country. That one was really scary, since it seemed the scammers had to be able to identify families who were in a situation where their story would actually work.

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