August 7, 2013 Edition

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Disbelief important
for email recipients

Vivian Heyl
Staff Writer

Using today's world of fast paced communication takes more than a skeptical personality and a sense of humor. It also takes an overly developed sense of disbelief in anything that sounds too good to be true.

Just this week I received an email informing me that I am just a short course away from a job as a highly paid medical professional and as soon as I fork out the money for the certificate I can begin the career of my dreams.

Another email advised me that I can claim my part of a relative's (whom I have never heard of) estate and it will only cost me a small percentage of my inheritance (up front) for help in collecting it.

The best news of the week came with the startling information that I had someone willing to give me top dollar for my timeshare. Since I don't actually own a timeshare I am definitely intrigued by the something for nothing offer.

However, should my timeshare not sell and my certificate not land me a dream job all the money I need is just a routing number away from appearing in my bank account.

I often ask myself how any of these scams can possibly work when I receive the same message from 20 different sources all claiming to have the answer to all my problems.

My coworkers and I often joke about how we are going to get a million dollars or it's equivalent just as soon as we send our banking information to the benevolent Mrs. Yamahami whose husband was recently the chief financial officer for a small province in Mongolia.

Since she needs to get money out of the country as quietly and quickly as possible it was brought to her attention that one of us lucky folks here in Lawrence County is an ideal candidate to help her with this problem.

I don't know anyone who has ever fallen for any of these crazy schemes, but I know that for every one of these ridiculous scams there are dozens of phishing emails that bring grief to people every day.

We all know whoever is dreaming up these scams hopes someone will be hooked and that they will be able to reel them in.

Perhaps my favorite scam so far this month has been the one where my ex is divulging information about my embarrassing past online. I am further advised that I need to go to the website address provided to put a stop to this and prevent all my terrible secrets from being exposed. The email stresses that my reputation is being irrevocably damaged and if I don't do something fast the damage could be costly. Even had I an ex to divulge my rather bland past mistakes I would not visit what I know is a site designed to collect personal and financial information for nefarious purposes.

On a serious note, as these scam artists become more and more adept at phishing for information in order to steal our personal information and our bank accounts it is important that we become even more determined to prevent it from happening. Our best defense is to never respond to an email requesting personal information or log into a website from an email link. Talk to someone at your bank immediately if you are concerned about someone accessing your account.

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