More Scam Spam Fun!

Email ScamSince I had a bit of a virtual romp with Olga a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been receiving some other types of interesting propositional emails from people.

Some like this one from 楊惠君.

Disclaimer: This is an actual email, copied and pasted from my Yahoo email account. It was not altered in any way, in order to make it more ludicrous or humorous. I did not compose the email sent by Mrs Vina Long.

From: “”楊惠君”” <yhj888@masterlink.com.tw>

To:

Sent: Friday, March 8, 2013 5:51 PM

Subject: From Vina.

.

Hello.

I am Mrs. Vina Long an aging widow suffering from cancer, a long time illness. Before my late husband died we had no children. I have some funds I inherited from my late husband. I will ask my attorney to prepare the necessary document to transfer the funds from my husband online offshore account and property to you. I want you to help me with this as I am very sick and cannot do this myself as I have to make my last wish come true. I have an estate in Medford NJ (USA) and a total sum of GBP£4.3Million (Four Million Three Hundred Thousand Great British Pounds Sterling) in my late husband online offshore account, which I have instructed my attorney to transfer the account of the person I have decided to make my next of kin. I need you to sell the property in Medford NJ USA. And 30\25 of the total sum should be transferred to any orphanage home. I need a very honest and God fearing Christian that will use the fund for God’s work, I found your email address from the internet and decided to contact you. Please if you would be able to use the funds for the Lord’s work, kindly reply me back.

Thanks again for you concern and Stay blessed.

Mrs Long

vina-long001@live.com

.

This is terrible! My heart goes out to Mrs Vina Long! O the unfairness of it all, widowed, suffering from a long cancer illness, having no one to bestow her fortunes on! What could be worse. I ask ya. Just what could be worse.

Of course, her cancer being a “long” illness rather than a “short” one, seems beneficial. Maybe I can point that out to her.

My heartfelt reply to Mrs Vina Long follows.

Hello Mrs. Vina Long,

I am replying you back and am sorry that you are an aging widow, suffering from cancer (a long time illness). Also, I am aging (aren’t we all?) but not a widow. Cancer is sometimes a short term illness, though, so let’s hope your particular illness continues on for a very long time. We are all terminal, don’t forget this, and perhaps you will outlive the cancer. Meaning of course, that something else will get you in the end. Not a pleasant thought, unfortunately.

You say before your late husband died, you had no children. Does this mean that you had children after he died? If so, that is also most unfortunate.

It is very generous of you to ask your attorney to prepare the necessary document to transfer the funds from your “husband online offshore account” and property to me. I am already quite well-to-do and look upon this as a possible tax problem. Can your attorney advise me about that?

Of course I am willing to do what I can. I have no real knowledge of how to sell real estate or of Medford, NJ. The only thing I can say is, I can put on a killer Jersey accent! So maybe I will fit right in down there in “Joisey” Hahaha!

For the humor, I apologize, but am trying to cheer you in this, your hour of great need. You being so sick and all. Sometimes a laugh helps the spirits lift, know what I’m sayin’?

For my next area of confusion, I see you have decided to make me your next of kin. Can you do this? Could you please adopt me first? I am willing for you to become my guardian. God knows, I need guarding (and guidance) because even though I am old in years, I still behave like an utter ass sometimes.

So on to the estate in Medford. I am to sell the property and 30/25 of the total sum should be transferred to any orphanage home? I am not so good at “the maths” as they say there Across the Pond, but it appears as if this is greater than the price I would receive for the property. Does this come out of the 4.3 Million Great British Pounds Sterling?

Please do not underestimate my honesty. It is utter and complete. Trust me — you can trust me! I live to do these good deeds whenever I hear from people such as you.

As for God-fearing, need we fear God? I have always had a problem with that. I guess I don’t fear Him, so does this eliminate me as your potential next of kin? I am very sorry to have to say this, but, since I am so honest and trustworthy (and trusting too!) I will tell you the truth. So can we just strike out the God-fearing part and maybe substitute God-respecting? Or maybe we could just remove that clause altogether?

I will however, use the fund for God’s work. He works in mysterious ways, I’m told, so maybe God wants me to invest in a hedge fund.

You found my email address on the internet? How did you know I was honest because of that?

I am very grateful and honored to be chosen for this, and to do “God’s work”.

Please write soon, and tell me what steps we need to take to get the adoption completed. I am looking forward to becoming your next of kin.

You stay blessed too, Mom (can I call you that now?) and write soon…

Your Devoted Next of Kin

Okay! I’m all set to become the NOK of Mrs Vina Long, I guess.

Really. Can we stop with this stuff? There is not a person left ON THE PLANET who will not do the triple eye roll at this. Congratulations though, for landing in my Inbox, and not my spam folder. You must be doing something right.

Unfortunately, to date, I have not heard back from Mrs. Vina Long.

On RSS Feeds and Email Hackers

One of the things I wanted to discover about the blogging process was: How to set up an RSS feed from my blog to my website. The blog has a link to the website, but I also wanted to have my blog headlines available on the website, in the event a reader happened to that location first.

An RSS feed will make whatever is available on my blog site also available on my website, immediately, as soon as I post something. It’s another way of making it easy for readers. If someone is at all interested in your content, it should be a rewarding experience, easy to go from one place to another. I don’t know about you, but whenever someone is trying to interest me, and I find the site confusing, or unfriendly, it’s a deal-breaker.

I didn’t know much about RSS, and was prepared for a struggle. Sometimes the things you think will be difficult, aren’t. That’s always refreshing. I started with the software I use to build my website. It is hosted by Yahoo and I used their Yahoo Sitebuilder. Sure enough, there was a how-to about it.

RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, (no, really, it does) distributes your blog headlines and as much content as you want, and presents it in a list. A reader interested in that content can then click the link and go directly to the blog post.

The first step is to identify the feed source. I use WordPress to host my blog, so I then went to WordPress.com to find out about that and it’s the URL of the blog with “/feed/” appended to it. http://www.nameofyourblog.com/feed/.

The second step is to convert the feed. This means finding a site that will create a snippet of JavaScript that you can insert directly into your website HTML. This might sound high tech, but it isn’t really. There were three options: Feedroll, RSS to JavaScript and RSS-Info.com. I chose the second, because I am familiar with JavaScript. It asked for my feed source file name from above, and then I could configure my feed however I wanted. How many items in the list, how many characters of text in each item, things like that. I took the defaults except I chose to display only ten items, and only the first 300 characters of each item. I inserted the name of my feed file and clicked the Generate JavaScript button, which is at the bottom of this screen (not shown).

It created the following JavaScript:

This looks like gobbledygook if you aren’t familiar with HTML but all it did was insert the name of my file, and the options I chose along with the defaults already there, into tags which the browser understands.

It worked the first time. Here is my new page:


That’s the good news about my week.

The bad news is, I had one of my email accounts hacked.

Sometimes, I do things that aren’t smart and I don’t know why I continue to do things that aren’t smart. I allowed my account to be hacked, because I had an email from a person I trusted, but the email wasn’t really from that person. So now people on my contact list are receiving emails that look like they came from me, but didn’t.

When I realized I had been compromised, I quick changed my password. But it is possible that the Bad Ass Spammers (BAS) already had my contact list and had stored those addresses. I don’t know for sure, and it seems as if that was the case because at least two emails went out after I had changed my password.

I have googled this problem until my eyes hurt, but have not really found a solution.

This is an embarrassing thing to have happen to me, because I am in a line of work where I am supposed to know about this stuff, enough at least that I don’t fall prey to BAS.

I ran a full virus scan. I doubt that will do anything, because the emails were sent at a time when my laptop was not turned on. But just in case, what can it hurt? And besides I learned some other good stuff when I did that. Like how to turn off startup programs so the machine boots up faster. That was a nice extra benefit.

I changed my password again. I had previously changed it to one I had used before, so just in case, I changed it to one I had never used. This, too, might not do anything, but can’t hurt.

Third, I deleted everyone in my contact list, except for myself, at another email address, and one from a friend of mine who I knew was no longer using that address and from whom I would get a Mail Delivery error. Then I will know if they are accessing my contact list real time, or using a stored one. This won’t work if they have already stored the addresses, and in fact, if I were a BAS, I guess that’s what I’d do.

Fourth, if none of this works, I am going to call Yahoo, since that’s where the email account is and see if there is anything they can tell me.

I may end up deactivating these accounts, and that may not even work.

The people who do this are ruthless, and cruel, and – what’s the point? We all know what kinds of people they are, they can make more money by being dishonest than they can by any legitimate means. The Bernie Madoffs of the computer industry.

I don’t excuse myself for being sucked in. I just wish it wasn’t necessary to be quite so vigilant.