Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Is Anyone Still Falling for this Scam?

Okay, I get it. The world is smaller, population larger, and employment pool shallow. So, if we want to survive in this world, we better be able to fend for ourselves. Get creative and learn how to make money in non-traditional ways.

But, is this idiot serious?

Wait. Let me back up for a second. This part of the backstory is important.

I got my first email address in 1997. It was an exciting time for me. Mostly, because I worked for a company that created and implemented healthcare software. I think. Honestly, I was the greenest person where IT was concerned.

No joke. Ten years or so prior to getting that job I sat in an office only a mile up the road as my mom worked an on-call shift and I uttered the words, “nobody in the world will ever use those stupid computer things. Who wants that in their house?”


In my defense, computers in the late eighties weren’t exactly the graphic wonders of ease they are today. They were big and clunky and so expensive my mom would have needed five jobs just to afford one of the things.

Fast forward to 1997.

Computers, for better or worse, were a thing everyone wanted in their house.


Tired of a life of being a retail whore, I decided to get an entry level job in an office. Your friendly Receptionist, Jenn, at your service.

I started as a temp. It was the easiest work I ever did. And I don’t mean to demean Receptionists by saying that, there is a lot of work to do, it’s just, that work isn’t exactly solving the world’s problems. Or coding software.

Learn the phone system, everyone’s name, and password to the computer and literally anyone who can say “Thank you for calling MMS, how can I direct your call?” can do my first corporate job.

Monkey work. I was fucking great at that job. Zero real responsibility. Twice the pay I made at the mall. Every weekend off. Button pusher. Big fake smiler for visitors and employees. If I wasn’t doing what I was meant to do with my life right now, I swear I would go back and get a job as a Receptionist. One with zero ambition of advancement.

But that’s another story. This one is about why all that time in corporate America has me questioning the motivations of people in these modern times.

As a gal working with a bunch of techie types in most every corporate job I ever held, I guess I was at an advantage over the average Joe. I got my education on the job.

As little as I knew about the online world when I started that first job, nowadays, I’m pretty well seasoned to the internet-at-large. 1997 was the same year I heard the term ‘urban legend’ for the first time.

I distinctly remember when and why one of my co-workers shared those two glorious words. An email. Of course it was a freaking email. There was no other way to internet scam people back in those days other than through email.

We didn’t have social media. We had chat rooms. Nobody even used their real name, we certainly weren’t asking for each other’s bank account information. We talked about stuff like football and movie stars.

The email in question, however, scared me. Some poor person had their kidney removed and woke up in a bathtub full of ice!

I mean, can you even imagine?

I was a club girl. For years my nights from Thursday through Sunday were spent in dark, smoke-filled, loud-as-fuck nightclubs. Most of the time I was broke. And I loved (correction: still love) to dance. I also despise falling over. So 90% of the time I went dancing, I was stone sober.

Club guys didn’t like that. They wanted me drunk and pliable. Sucks to be them. Thanks for asking, you can get me a bottled water and I’ll let you grind up on me on the dance floor. But you probably won’t be taking me home. This is about dancing mofo.

So, when I opened that email I started thinking of the other 10% of the time. The times I went out and actually had a couple bucks to spend as well as a desire to get plastered. How easy would it be to wake up in a hotel room after being drugged? How easy would it be for someone to surgically remove my kidney and leave me to die in a tub?

I clicked forward and sent that warning to most of the people I knew.

Moments later, I learned the term urban legend, as provided by one of the techs at the company. He was, of course, nice enough about it but made sure to let me know it was in fact a scam.

From then on I learned to filter the internet through my cynicism before forwarding anything.

But, just to be safe, I pretty much stopped drinking when I went dancing.

That urban legend email was the day my curiosity with the interwebs came to a screeching halt. Wait, what? People try to steal your money online? And nobody has lost a kidney in a hotel bathroom?

My mind flashed back to the office with my mom. I suddenly wished I’d stuck to my guns. Computers were nothing more than a big waste of time. Right?

I got all the scams, but was lucky enough to know they were false. So, I guess I assume that twenty years later everyone with an email address has seen and dismissed just about every email scam that’s ever been tried. That old scams were forever a thing of the past.

That is, until I opened my email this morning and read this:

Dear: Friend.Assalammu'Alaikum I am Mr Hamza Mohammed, I need your assistance to transfer an abandoned sum of(US$20.5million us Dollars) into your Bank account 50/percent will be your share,50% for me and 10% for any income expenses that will come during the transfer,I need your assistance only keep the business secretly. No risk involved but keeps it as secret. Contact me for more details. Please reply me through my alternative email id only for confidential reasons,( mrhamzamohammed8@gmail.com ) I am waiting for your urgent respond to enable us proceed further for the transfer. Yours faithfully,Mr Hamza Mohammed.


I mean, if this former tech neophyte could learn what not to do online then I figured everyone with an email already knows to filter shit like this to spam.

Who is still falling for this con that someone is still selling this con as legit?

Does anyone think they might hear about millions of dollars in abandoned money (earmarked for them) in a freaking email? No, I mean, like I said, I was once very green too but come on. Even back then I never would have fallen for something like that. Who just gives a stranger their bank account information?

Who reads this and thinks, “Oh good, my ship finally came in!”

The email alone tells us everything.

Things wrong:

1. The email sender: mrhamzam9@aol.com. I know some people still use AOL but, really? Again, welcome back to 1997. I’m pretty sure if I get an email that someone wanted to give me up to 10 million dollars it would come from @lawfirmofchoice.com.

2. Math. Look, I’m a writer and numbers aren’t exactly my forte if you will, but even I know the clichĂ© of “I gave it 150%” can’t be real. 100% is the actual maximum available. Especially when we’re talking about a finite number. For example, “US$20.5million us Dollars.” So if we take “50/percent,” and add that to “50% for me,” then again add 10%, I’m simply left scratching my head. Where exactly does Hamza expect to find “10% for any income expenses” lying around? Which one of us must sacrifice our $2mil to these foreseen expenses?

3. That grammar. I literally can’t even. That sentence is about as fragmented as it gets and it still makes more sense than any single sentence in Hamza’s email.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the 1997 throwback (especially with a book set in the mid-nineties about to drop [Makeup Your Mind] I’m pretty much all about the decade right now), but the guy might as well have told me someone was going to steal half my liver and stitch me up with yarn.

I know better. That 10% of the time I spent drinking took care of my liver.

Try again Scammy McScammerson.

Photo courtesy quick meme

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In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

1 comment:

Launna said...

Jenn, unfortunately there are people that are still being conned... like you I wondered how anyone could buy into it and then I met a lady that fell into that scam... she lost everything, her house, her credit... her dignity... she said she kept holding on thinking she would get the money back... I told her she would never get a penny and that she needed to give up the idea it would change... I pray I have taught both my children well enough not to believe in these types of scams... xox