“Hi. How are you? I am single lady and dream to find true love. This is a reason why I contact you. I have information you want to find second half. Thats right? I am single, never married and have no kids. I will be excited if you will reply."
Oo-er. She looked a bit like Daniela Bianchi in From Russia With Love. Did she think I was Sean Connery?
And what's this? Another offer from an organisation wanting to link me up with a group of bored young wives who are looking for love because their husbands do no appreciate them. "They are all married but super attractive and want to cheat."
By heck, missus.We never had this before't t'internet, sithee, as they say in Yorkshire.
And if any chap is thinking of asking for a contact address, they can hold their horses: this is another scam site based in Russia.
Both these emails were among my spam folder, which is where all dubious emails get sent so I don't spend an hour every day wondering why Jule Bongo wants to send me $9 million and Susan Yakco, who thinks I'm “God's Selected”, has ear-marked $8 million for my personal use. Mind you, it is nice to be God's Selected.
Occasionally it's fun to see what conmen send out to millions world wide in the hope of snaring a target or two. But this time I went looking with a purpose because my email address book had been hacked and messages were being sent to friends and contacts in my name.
Fortunately, they didn't carry my email address and, because they're from suspect places, will usually be dumped in the recipient's spam box rather than their inbox.
I've changed the security on all my email accounts but once someone's address list has been stolen, they can be sold on and used by spammers and scammers and conmen. The hacker can get the list in many ways, including through someone else's email list, or social networking sites. Being hacked may not be your fault but the results can be confusing to friends and embarrassing to you.
Years ago, I kept getting messages from my cousin Suzanne who lives in Spain offering fake Rolex watches and Viagra tablets. Suzanne has a strange sense of humour but I guessed even she was not in the market for a fake Rolex: she has a real one. The Viagra I was not so sure about but I still didn't reply. When I told her, she laughed her head off.
The most recent message under my name was linked to a Russian website. “I blame Putin,” said the friend who told me. Needless to say, I have warned all contacts to avoid opening it in case their identity is stolen by a KGB assassin.
I even had a message to me from me (to almost quote the Chuckle Brothers) from Singapore.
All phony messages are dangerous and should be binned. Links should never be opened as they could hide a virus or Trojan to steal your computer's information.
Mind you, once I started I found that checking my spam folder was, as always, highly entertaining and had the usual range of phishing expeditions going the rounds, including one from Judy Brown who is stranded in Cyprus and would like me to send of her $2,400. Of course I will, Judy. Just as soon as I've finished watching this pig flying race. Maybe I should put her in touch with Jule Bongo who has money to spare?
Which brings me back to Ira. There is, apparently, a whole romance scam industry where conmen try to hook receptive chaps in the west, so I think I'll give her a miss. Besides, what do I want with a 31-year-old at my time of my life? I've got enough problems with hacked emails without providing grounds for a hacked-off wife.
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