Friday, March 12, 2010

Scams! - or How to Handle Internet Scams the Christian Evangelical Wacko Way

Searching for a more secure job involves putting your credentials out there on various large relevant job banks and search engines.  I do not use Yahoo Hot Jobs.  I also go to large credible corporations and organizations and open an account, establish ties with them and have job notices sent to me automatically.  This is standard procedure for the last 15 years for me. 

Once in a rare while I get an email out of the blue like the image I've posted above.  If this doesn't jump out at you as a scam then you probably can't spell the brand of car you drive.  Let's go through this point by point.  Just reading the company name in the From: field is a tipoff so obvious I didn't even highlight it. 
  1.  Employers almost always know what sex you are and put a 'Mr. Meyer' so this tells me this scam is using an email robot and firing out perhaps thousands of emails using placeholders. "Hello name," etc.  
  2. Secondly this woman, if it is human, makes no attempt at hiding a foreign origin.  Not as suspicous as it once was but is a clue to be added to others.
  3. There is no specific job title for this woman.  This is so 'duh' that it makes me resort to slang.  Next it mentions Yahoo!HotJobs which is a common search engine that I do not is naive and all but a useless waste of time.
  4. She says that I'm qualified for the position of Finance Manager.  Oh I'm so impressed with that compliment I'll jump right on it.  Not!  This is an insult to Finance Managers everywhere because if my credentials were even slightly perused it would be obvious I'm a geek and you shouldn't let me anywhere near money...too few decimal places and it confuses me.
  5. Point 5 is only something a geek would catch.  Spam filters and the like are trying to be avoided here by placing a period in between the 'o' and the 'b.  This is done twice so it is no  accident.  When you break up keywords a simple filter will miss it and probably not mark it as possible spam, such as mine did.  I use the Thunderbird email client and Verizon's junk mail resources.
Finally, a '.biz' URL is so small time.  A '.biz' URL is like a business card amount of advertising and is inexpensive to host and to change.  How many .biz URL's do you know?  I thought so.

So what do we do with this scam email?  We can delete it.  We can open it as long as we have virus software running.  We can become a Finance Manager and launder money for commies overseas.  We can mutter a bad word and list it in our junk folder for future filtering.  We can report the scam to proper authorities.  When you get this type of email you can safely assume proper authorities have already been notified and that this email you got is the result of their ineffectual efforts.

There is one other option.  We can recognize that behind every scam is a person and that person might not know Jesus.  By the way these email addresses might even have been an identity theft.  Still there is a person somewhere along the way even if it is an FBI agent.  So below is my example of a response to scams.  You can safely click on the link it goes to a Christian ministry website.

I have received your information for the position of Finance Manager. At this time I am not qualified to fill such an esteemed position and so I will have to ask for my removal from your email list.
Life?? offered to you.

Wade Meyer
Warm and sunny Florida

If a person clicks the link it takes them to EE Prison Ministries International to the exact page that walks you through the ?? steps to salvation.  So I can either be a son of thunder about it all or I can be constructive.  I finally decided to be constructive and I hope you do too!

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