In the post below, I reproduced an e-mail that a tricked a lawyer into sending almost $200,000 to a foreign client. I said that the e-mail was obviously a scam. How did I know? I will reproduce the e-mail. Inside the brackets are my comments:
From: Hong Kong Yejian Technology <firstname.lastname@example.org>
[The first thing I did was to enter the company's name, "Hong Kong Yejian Technology," into Google. There is such a company. But - and this is huge and is a sure sign that the e-mail is a scam - look at the e-mail address. Why is it @gmail.com?
[Most large companies will have a website. They will also have an "official" e-mail address. For example, an e-mail from someone who works at Kelly Blue Book would be DudeFromKellyBlueBook@kbb.com.
[Warning: Any scammer can create a company web page. I could send you an e-mail saying that I'm the CEO of Spacely Sprockets. And here's my website: www.SpacelySprockets.com. How would you know if there was an actual company behind the website? So even if the e-mail looks official, it might not be.]
Subject: Legal Counsel
The purpose of this email is to evidence that we have visited your web page and found your profile very interesting.
[Wait, they are offering to hire me based on a web profile they read? What legitimate company does this?]
We would like to enter into a one year Attorney-Client Retainer agreement with you as our accredited Attorney for the collection of debt mainly from our America debtors.
IN GENERAL, you shall have all of the responsibilities, duties, powers and authorities which are consistent with your position as our accredited Attorney solely for debt collection.
It is our opinion that your ability to consolidate payments will eradicate delays due to inter-continental monetary transaction between Asia and America.
[The companies they need to collect from are supposedly in America. And I am... where? Oh, that's right: America! So how in the heck would I eradicate an "inter-continental" delay?]
More so, we understand that a proper retainer agreement will provide the necessary service and we are most inclined to commence talks with you on this matter as soon as possible.
Your consideration of our request is highly anticipated as we look forward to your prompt response.For further information, please call +852 - 301 - 59103 during office hours or send a fax anytime to: +852 -301 -72504 or email: email@example.com
[An @aim.com e-mail address? Imagine a manager from Coca-Cola e-mailed you. Would they really send you an official e-mail, asking you to respond to them at an AOL e-mail address?]
Ms. Ai Wa
Hongkong Yejian Technology Co., Ltd.
7/F, Sino Centre, 582-592 Nathan Road,
Mongkok KL. Hong Kong.
Tel No: +852 - 301 - 59103.
Fax No: +852 -301 -72504.
[Always enter phone numbers into Google. Entering "+852 - 301 - 59103" brings you to a site called Scambuster (site).]
Some basic research could have saved an Atlanta lawyer almost $200,000.
Look, folks, it's no longer cool to say, "I don't understand technology." Why is this something to brag about? It's like bragging about not reading books.
I especially love it when old people who complain about "Gen-Y slackers" brag about being too lazy to understand the Internet. Yep, that makes sense.
Scams will get more sophisticated. Educate yourselves. No one is saying you need to trick your browser out with every Firefox add-on. But not knowing that an e-mail from someone working for a huge company should not come from an @aol or @gmail account is pretty sad.
Ignorance is, like, so not cool.