January 15, 2010
Same Old Scam, New Twist?
Posted by Lisa Fairfax

I received an email today that stated the following:

I am Maria Johnson. A dying woman who had decided to donate the sum of $10,500,000.00 to you for charity works. Please contact my lawyer through this email: charlesbaylor47@yahoo.com.hk, His name is Barrister Charles Baylor. Sincerely, Maria Johnson

The subject line said "DONATION FOR CHARITY WORK."  I must admit I always get a kick out of these emails, and wonder what kind of transfer or other fee I would have been asked to pay if I had contacted Barrister Charles Baylor and sought to collect the generous donation.   But these kinds of emails are never really a laughing matter.  Indeed, the most recent internet crime report published by a partnership between theFBI and the National White Collar Crime Center revealed not only that the number of complaints related to on-line crimes hit a record high in 2008, but that the dollar loss hit a record high, accounting for about $265 million in losses, and beating the record high of 2007.  These losses occur despite the seeming outlandish nature of the emails, and the serious spelling and grammatical errors that are typically within the emails.  And in the case of the kind of email I received, it also likely occurs because, they occur by seeming to appeal to people's charitable impulses and making their attempts to receive the money appear less about greed.  Indeed, who could resist such a donation for charity works?

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