They’ve Gone Phishing

Okay, check this out. This spam-scam is too funny.

Subject: Strictly for you

My name is larry Johnson, Director of Inspection here in Atlanta airport Georgia USA. During our investigation i discovered two consignment with your name tagged of them. when scanned it revealed an undisclosed sum of money in a Metal Trunk Box weighing approximately 110kg each. I want to use my good office to bring them to you for mutual benefit. only on the condition that we will share it 50% for 50% for me. Get back to me now with your full name, address and direct telephone numbers on my private emial: as soon as i hear from you, i will forward all the details of the delivery to you including the time frame.

Larry Johnson 404-6477526

Gee, could this possibly be a scam? Let’s see: No “To:” header so it wasn’t addressed to me. The sender’s email address is shown three times, all not matching. It shows that it originated in Germany and this is supposed to be an official with the Atlanta International Airport. Then, according to the message which claims there is a consignment in my name at the airport, he wants to split it between us when I could simply claim the entire thing, or he could just as easily steal it. YET, he also asks for my name when he just told me that I had a consignment in my name. Let’s just ignore the fact that his caps key apparently doesn’t work with the letter ‘i’ on his keyboard when he refers to himself in his ‘emial.’

The other day I got an email saying that my direct bank deposit had failed and the message asked me for my bank’s name and account number. I guess it didn’t occur to him (or her) that they probably should know the bank they worked for and the account they were informing me about. Of course, I get emails that tell me that my PayPal account has been limited and asks me to log in, yet the return email address domain is .ru, which is Russia. Or the notice that my Netflix account billing credit card is expired and asks me to go to a website that has nothing to do with Netflix to enter new credit card information.

The really scary part about these ‘phishing’ attempts to get people’s banking information is that we see so many of them because one out of a few hundred of the thousands of these that get sent out are successful. If everyone would just LOOK at the emails they get which refer to financial information, they would see a scam immediately and brush it off. But the sad truth is that about 5% of the recipients are stupid enough to reply and give the identity thieves the information thay’re asking for. Everyone has to know by now that when the letter from the lawyer arrives explaining that someone wants to deposit a few million free dollars into their bank account that they’re looking at the old Nigerian shuffle. Yet enough people get snookered to keep the scam alive and well and living in luxury on mail servers all over creation.

The other day I was chatting with friends about Newt Gingrich and his being thrown out of Congress while he was Speaker of the House for ethics violations, had abandoned former wives when they became inconveniently ill, and had just recently been on television saying that anyone who quoted his statements during a televised interview was lying. There was more, but you get the idea; his character is demonstratably flawed. Seriously flawed. Yet he happens to be the current forerunner in the GOP race for president.

It’s spooky to a guy like me who totally depends on the government for my health care and my income. It doesn’t matter that my entitlement comes from a contract with the government and isn’t dependent solely on compassion. But I watched what Mr. Gingrich did with his Contract With America, namely getting chucked out of office so I feel I have good reason for trepidation. Given that President Obama recently tossed veterans benefits on the bargaining table, political party has nothing to do with my concerns. I don’t trust anyone anymore. Sadly, that has to include the voting public who, in spite of his clear and continued failings has garnered a 42% in recent polls. What on earth can these people be thinking?

Then I think about just how many people fall for phishing scams and realize that a lot of people aren’t very smart and have the common sense of two pounds of granite. Watching interviews on television I see interviewers asking Gingrich supporters why they have support for him in spite of his obvious integrity bankruptcy and hear them say that his words strike a chord –they ‘resonate’ with those voters. Just like the obviously bogus offers of multi-million dollar windfalls resonate and strike a chord with people desperate to be a part of the so-called one percent. It akes me back to my college days and logic classes, now referred to as Critical Thinking. My profs hammered us with the old “If P, then Q” until it came out of our ears. One example I recall was:

Premise: A good man is hard to find. Conclusions: John is always difficult to locate therefore John is a good man. Actually, John is hard to find because his photo hangs in the Post Office on a wanted poster for numerous heinous crimes. My classmates and I thought that was a riot because at the time “A good man is hard to find” was the US Marines recruitment tagline. The point here is that a lot of people who’re actually pretty intelligent can also be incredibly stupid. I include myself in that group because I could easily fill a lot of pages with the stupid things I have done –and thought. It turns out that, to my benefit, I’m one of those folks who are ‘once bitten, twice shy’ and I have learned to apply life’s lessons. That’s why today I have no political party affilliation, instead vote for those whose record demonstrates good character, wise decisions, and the ability to compromise for the good of the nation. See? There’s no way I could arbitrarily support a party line. To do so is self defeating and reckless because a party agenda operates exclusive of anything out of step, regardless of what the nation might so desperately need.

As a disabled person of very limited resources, I have to be vigilant and do my duty as a voter. Which is to take the time necessary to study up on candidates so I know what to expect from whoever gets elected. To do otherwise is non-survival and if Multiple Myeloma has shown me anything, it’s that I very much want to survive. Then again, I’m just one guy and there are a lot of voters, so it’s something more than disappointing to see people who, for their own reasons, refuse to research the candidates and think critically about them. To me, cavalier voters are not much different than the intellectually challenged cretins who answer the phishing emails and give away their life savings in the doing. Except in this case, it’s my future that political phishing victims are playing with.

If you’re going to vote then for heaven’s sake, and the sake of the rest of the country, suffer the effort of doing it right. After all, voting is all about suffrage.