Spam and Scam



When I came to the US, Nevada was known as the divorce capital of the US; its other charms were prostitution and gambling. It has tried to clean up its act, but Las Vegas is still the tawdry capital of the country.  There are many attractive, more accessible cities in the US, so, if  many organizations meet there, it must be because they like it that way. I was distressed that the Latin American Studies Association chose to meet there and to invite a group of Cuban intellectuals to attend.  We have long denounced SPAM, much of which is SCAM. Nevada tries to entice gamblers with offers of free accommodations and other tricks.

I received a long, detailed  e-mail from Golden Lottery U. S. A. in Carson City telling me I had won $2.5 million.  I was puzzled.  If it were true, the financial problems of WAIS would be solved. However, there was a hitch: I had to contact "the finance firm of your first correspondence", which mystified me. I wanted to check the bona fides of the offer. I called the telephone given (775-414- 5716, ext. 124) . the office of Felix Clifford Peterson, the financial director of Global Link Cash Change, which I suppose is connected with Golden Lottery U. S. A. I got voice mail the first time; then the lines was busy. I tried the Carson City Chamber of Commerce. Golden Lottery USA had given its  address as 342 Fair Street. The Chamber informed me that there is no such street in Carson City, and they had no record of a company called Golden Lottery U. S. A. I was told that it must have a business licence. I called the Licencing Office and was told that it had no record of the company. I could register a complaint with the Complaints Bureau, which I called.  I got voicemail saying it accepted only written complaints, but gave no address.  I gave up.  I am puzzled as to what it is all about.  Tim Brown lives near Carson City, and WAIS would be grateful if he would look into this at once, since the offer expires in a few days.  Whatever he finds, we would be interested in a report.

If the offer is genuine, WAIS financial problems will be solved. If it is just one more scam, it should be stopped. This whole spam/scam business seriously damages the world image of the US, and that is a major concern when so many people around the globe are all too willing to think evil of the US.

Regarding Spam-Scam, George Sassoon advises us from the UK: Maybe I should warn WAISers about a type of SPAM which says: your email address has been used to send a lot of SPAM lately - you should follow instructions in the attached file.  If you open the attached file, it instructs your machine to send a load of SPAM!  I had several messages like this when I was in hospital and my machine wasn't even switched on. Several of them purported to come from AOL, my internet provider, but didn't.  AOL now uses a special format for genuine messages from them, which never ask for confidential information. As regards dialing the South Pacific, AOL displays the number being dialed so I would know about it right away if it was not one of their 0800 free numbers.

Regarding spam-scam, Ed Jajko writes: Another, even more insidious form of e-mail fraud that has surfaced recently, is the very authentic-looking message from a bank or other financial institution that asks for a reply to an http:// link that includes the financial institution's name.  I received two such messages in the past month.  Clicking on the link captures information from one's computer and can seed viruses.  On the very real-seeming web page one has linked to, one is asked to input account numbers in order to clear up some difficulty.  Typing in and sending in the account numbers, one can also wave goodbye to any money in one's accounts as well as looking forward to the problems of identity theft.  As terrible a problem that this form of stealing is, along with Nigerian scam, lottery scams, etc., I disagree that this is something that does harm to the international reputation of the United States.  I think the mea culpa on behalf of the US is unjustified.  Nigerian scam originated in Africa, although it is probably now multicontinental.  And as for the various other e-mail fraud schemes, all one needs is a computer, someone with a knowledge of English, a web designer, a list of e-mail addresses, and an ISP.  Telephones can also be set up to operate internationally, seamlessly and with no hint to the caller that the connection is not local.  For the e-mail or web grifter, there are no limitations of location or nationality.  A fraudulent lottery that claims to be located in Nevada may just as likely be operated out of offices in India, Zimbabwe, and Belize.

RH: A previous posting listed the countries from which spam.scsam comes. Nigeria is a notorious offender, and that does Nigeria's bad international reputation no good.  A news item said that the offenders are being prosecuted, but the messages still come. Anyone who would fall for them must be very credulous.

From Denmark, Holger Terp, Editor of the Danish Peace Academy, writes: In Denmark my email provider gave subscribers a free virus and spam filter  beginning October 1. It is working fine. Only two or three Zimbabwe letters have entered my mail box. Now if one email provider, after some heated debate in the mass media, can stop virus and spam, all email providers can do it.

RH: All too true, but it requires a concerted effort.

Regarding Spam-Scam, John Heelan says from the UK: You ask for European experience.  A scratchcard accompanied my local newspaper.  After I had scratched the panel away, the card told me that I had won a "free holiday" in Tenerife.  Like yourself, I was curious and determined to follow the trail to see where it led, so I followed the instructions printed in a small font on the reverse of the card, a font however larger than the extremely restrictive Terms and Conditions which I read through a magnifying glass. The instructions told me to telephone a premium line to obtain my "confirmation code."  I did so and was regaled with advertising for some minutes before receiving the code (the call cost about $9).   Still curious I applied in writing.

Some months later I received a letter from the company confirming the "free holiday" in Tenerife together with additional terms and conditions.   These included: notification that the holiday was for one person only; I had to be available to leave at 10 days notice; I needed to pay  additional "airport taxes and duties"; the flights left in the early hours of the morning from an airport at the other end of the country- thus incurring further costs of ground transport (about $200) and an overnight hotel stay ($100); the worst element was that I had to agree to attend a four-hour intensive sales presentation by time-share touts at the holiday resort.

All in all, not only would I have been paying to be sold to, but also the additional expenses to my "free holiday" would have paid for a better quality holiday by themselves.

I declined the offer!.

Regarding spam-scam, Randy Black writes: If you have a phone number that you wish to track to its source, go to Google and type in the number with hyphens between the area code and the number, etc., hit search and typically you will come up with the name associated with the number. In the case of the lottery scam number you included, I did this and was offered a link to the snopes.com website, an Internet clearing house for scams, rumor, myths and all the rest. Here is a link to YOUR letter and many others:
http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/info/lottery.asp
 
A quick search also turned up the site: http://www.data-wales.co.uk/nigerian.htm
(Describes various Nigerian “advance fee” scam.
Also this one in the UK, but same warnings and guidance about scams:
http://www.crimes-of-persuasion.com/Nigerian/security_companies.htm
 
You received something that read like this one pasted from the snopes.com site:
 
FROM: THE LOTTERY COORDINATOR,
INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT

DEAR SIR/MADAM,

RESULTS FOR CATEGORY "A" DRAWS

Congratulations to you as we bring to your notice, the results of the Category "A" draws of GOLDEN LOTTERY U.S.A We are happy to inform you that you have emerged a winner under the First Category, which is part of our promotional draws. The draws were held on the day prior to your notification. Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 4,000,000 names/email addresses of individuals and companies from Africa, America, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Middle East, and New Zealand as part of our International Promotions Program.

You/Your Company, attached to ticket number 3322/6181-22, with serial number 92-71 drew the lucky numbers 19, 21, 25, 30, 41, 44 (22), and consequently won in the Category "A". You have therefore been awarded a lump sum pay out of $2,500,000.00 (two Million Five Hundred Thousand United state dollars) in cash, which is the winning payout for Category "A" winners. This is from the total prize money of $5,000,000.00 shared among the 2 international winners in this category.

CONGRATULATIONS!

Your funds are now deposited with GLOBAL LINK CASH CHANGE LTD, a reputable finance firm in the United states., insured in your name. In your best interest and also to avoid mix up of numbers and names of any kind, we request that you keep the entire details of your award strictly from public notice until the process of transferring your claims has been completed, and your funds remitted to your account. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unscrupulous acts by participants/nonparticipants of this program. We also wish to bring to your notice our mid year (2004) high stakes where you stand a chance of winning up to $40.Million, we hope that with a part of your prize you will participate.

Please contact your claims agent immediately, to begin your claims process;

MR.FELIX CLIFFORD PETERSON
FINANCIAL DIRECTOR
GLOBAL LINK CASH CHANGE LTD
TEL:775-306-6684
Fax:775-251-4559
EMAIL:findire@globallinkcashchangeltd.net

For due processing and remittance of your prize money to a designated account of your choice.

Remember, you must contact your claim agent not later than 5TH JULY 2004. After this date, all funds will be returned as unclaimed.

NOTE: For easy reference and identification find below your reference and Batch numbers. Note that you are to forward this email to the finance firm in your first correspondence with them, whether by email or fax.

REFERENCE NUMBER: GLUSA/6181/11-06/04
BATCH NUMBER: 1811-TH

Congratulations once again from all our staff and thank you for being part of our promotions program.

Sincerely, THE LOTTERY COORDINATOR,
GOLDEN LOTTERY U.S.A,
342 FAIR STREET,
CARSON CITY,
NEVEDA.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
TEL:775-414-5716 EXT 124
FAX:775-535-2694
 
But some are signed like this:
Sincerely,
The Lottery Coordinator,
Golden Lottery Uk,
1 Bridge Street
Staines
Middlesex Tw18 4tp
United Kingdom

Tel/Fax: 44 7092808613

N.B. Any Breach Of Confidentiality On The Part Of The Winners Will Result To Disqualification. Please Contact Your Claims Agent.
 

Your comments are invited. Read te home page of the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) by simply double-clicking on:   http://wais.stanford.edu/ E-mail to hilton@stanford.edu. Mail to Ronald Hilton, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Please inform us of any change of e-mail address.

Ronald Hilton 2004

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last updated: October 8, 2004