Let’s see, there are the seven lotteries, five free cruises, the online dates who are looking specifically for me, a nice letter from the IRS that greeted me as “Dear taxpayer,” and I found out today that they made a payment to me. They even attached a confirmation slip!
I’m not really sure who “they” are, but if there’s a confirmation attached in a “rar” (ZIP) file, how could it not be genuine? If only it were all true. My memory may not be as sharp as it was many years ago, however, I don’t recall asking anyone for payment from anyone. That zip file no doubt has a virus in it that would unleash some sort of attack on my computer and its network.
The downside of the fake IRS email was that the un-named sender told me I was already late filing my tax return and would be charged penalties unless I provided some personal information, such as Social Security number and date of birth. I figured they were jumping the gun a bit. They sent me the notice even though the last tax year hadn’t even ended.
If it did come from the IRS, I figured they must be really busy. If they took the time to look me up and send me the email, I thought they would have had all of that information on file.
If we all had a dollar for every dollar we were promised or asked to hand over, all Americans’ wealth would skyrocket. The national debt would be paid off and we’d all be living like kings and queens.
At first glance, it is surprising that the spammers and robocallers even try anymore. However, it is sad, inasmuch as it means their phishing schemes still work and they continue to build their wealth, because there are always victims. The criminals don’t even pay taxes. Not to the federal government, nor their own government, on whatever continent it may be.
We know that you can’t win a lottery if you didn’t enter it, and though it would be nice, I think the spammers sometimes make mistakes. I don’t have any uncles who could have left me a fortune that I could collect, provided I wire some money for fees.
If the recent data breaches have taught us anything, it is that the criminals are getting more sophisticated, and that we have to reassess how we pay for merchandise and how much information we should give out to strangers, such as an address, email address and telephone number.
The other lesson is that the less sophisticated scams continue to flourish. That means the message isn’t getting out to everyone.
The key to preventing ID theft and protecting our financial information is a healthy dose of skepticism.
The word is out. Pass it along. Maybe, in time, we can put these people out of business.