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December 15th, 2010

Filed under: Uncle Mark sez... — UncleMark @ 4:33 pm

First off… I wish you and yours the happiest of holiday seasons. May the year 2011 be prosperous and a safe year for you and your family and friends.

Something interesting crossed my e-desk about a week ago. It was a very official looking document, replete with logos, signatures, major sounding e-mail addresses and powerful sounding words. As I read the document, which had my full name in the subject line, I became uneasy. At the end of the document was a list of approximately eight very prominent judicial bureaucracies, and four obviously made up ones.

The e-mail document was basically telling me that I would not be reported to the FBI, CIA, DOD, NSA or a string of other agencies. The charge you ask? I was being reported to these agencies for treason unless I paid the requisite $175.00 to the EFCC in Lagos, Nigeria.

I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck, so this kind of thing caused me to pause, and then laugh. I reread the poorly written letter about six times laughing so hard that I almost soiled myself. In my mind I’m thinking… “what a crock of…”

Wait a minute. This is just the type of ruse to catch some folks blindly filling out a check and mailing it to some scumbag in Nigeria. Why? It’s a simple fact that the American consumer is gullible and that my friends has me more afraid now that at any time in the past.

Most of the “sheet-zah” (a new word for scam e-mail and letters) that comes from these parasites that live in Nigeria or some other dark stinky hole usually tell me I can have 20 or 30 percent of 26.5 million “crotch-rots” or some denomination if I just help some poor dude out of his settlement dispute arising from the death of some long lost politician or family member. Pony up the five thousand cash that they need to pay-off some ding-bat judge or corrupt banker and I could be rich in no time.

Here’s the sad part. I got three phone calls within about a week from people asking me if this FBI e-mail that they just got was legit or not. These are educated folks; people whose opinions or guidance I have relied upon in the past. They are asking me what they should do. And then lo and behold, the same exact letter crops up on a web site forum that I frequent. Those leeches in Nigeria are getting smarter. What happens when they get so smart that they sucker you and empty your bank account?

I read in the paper recently that a series of credit card “bills” got mailed out to some of the residents who frequent an upscale restaurant in their town. The C/C bill looked very official and even had the correct credit card number on it. The bill only asked for 129 dollars and 42 cents. The C/C never got dinged.

Want the bad news? Over 40% of the folks that got the bill paid it. Apparently, the card number was skimmed, the address of the owner was found out and a very official looking billing statement was mailed out complete with an addressed return envelope.

So who do we shoot? Who do we prosecute? Who do we report to? Heck, can we even be sure we are reporting anything to a legitimate agency? If your point a finger at someone, there are three more pointing back at you. I hear howls of indignation? Where do I get off saying that it’s OUR FAULT?   Because…  it is our fault.

If any one of these scams never gets tripped; in other words, if not one single scam artist got back a nickel when he pulled one of these things, would they keep doing it? So yeah… it’s our fault. There are some of us who are so gullible that when a friend sends out an e-mail that he/she got mugged at gun-point in London England, and their wallet/purse got stolen and they need $1500 quid to get out of the country and back home, we waltz down to the Western Union office, fire off the money-gram only to turn around and find that the next guy in line is the exact same friend you were trying to help. And he’s trying to help another friend who got mugged in Sweden.

Congrats! Both of you morons got mugged… at the same time. DON’T TELL ME THAT IT DOESN’T HAPPEN! It does, and all too often I’m afraid.

The year 2011 will be the year of the scam. Time magazine will devote their Man-of-the-Year issue to a cloaked figure lurking in the shadows. Once a week there will be a newspaper report about some elderly couple lamenting the fact that they made a check out for $1600 bucks for a patio they never ordered. There is no doubt in my mind that each and every one of us will get scammed out of our hard earned cash one way or another.

“Not me! I won’t get scammed…” I’ll present a scenario; you will get a bill from the IRS. It states something about a mistake you made in 2008 and the IRS will need you to send a check for $24.95. You’re gonna think, “Aw hell, it’s only 25 bucks” and you’ll fire off the check, with an address of P. O. Box 41231 Dept. SCRW-U. If one hundred thousand people get the same letter and just 40% do the exact same thing you did, that’s a million bucks being sent to the same P. O. Box.

However, if one hundred thousand people got the same letter and no one sent in the check, would the scammer keep trying the same scam?

A large portion of this is our fault. We perpetuate this type of thing by falling for the believable and believing the absurd. Each and every day more and more of our neighbors are getting scammed. Can we stop it? Unfortunately? No. There is no stopping this type of crime. All we really can do is keep our eyes and ears open and expect the “scammers” to offer you their services of parting you and your money.

I can tell you this? We are at war. A war that is silent; instigated on foreign shores and just as capable of killing the American Dream as a bullet is. Arm yourself with knowledge; resort to a careful and detailed understanding of your family surroundings. Just remember that doing all of this is only a small part in this war. Prepare others. Ask questions. Throw the ‘BS’ flag if you don’t understand something and pick up the phone and ask for explanations.

It’s fun to laugh about these things… right up until you realize that your checking account has been emptied and your credit cards have been shut off for being over limit. I wonder who would be laughing then.

By the way… he rode a Kawasaki Ninja 900.

Be safe and secure in 2011?

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Until next time…

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