I'm not the only one with an inbox full of get-rich-quick offers from unlikely sources. Several readers shared their tales following my story last week about the British infantryman who wanted to make me a millionaire.
Reader Phil Joste, who lives in the United Kingdom, writes: "In one month I have had 32 e-mails (fortunately directed to my spam folder) in regard to these money offers, including two from an American Marine colonel in Iraq telling the same story as the British infantryman and even two supposedly emanating from the FBI giving the correct address of their office in Miami. I find them amusing reading. Up to now I have the opportunity of collecting $320 million. Where on earth should I spend it all?"
Dave Krephchin said his inbox gets plenty of bogus offers, and he passed along one he received at the end of June. The subject line was suspiciously blank, which is always reason for caution.
The message came from an e-mail address with a New Zealand domain and was sent to a list called "firstname.lastname@example.org." It reads:
The Chevron/Texaco would like to inform you that you have been picked by the board of trustees as one of the final recipients for a cash grant/donation. We are giving out a yearly donation of US$1,000,000.00 each to 100 lucky recipients each year, undermining your religion. Kindly contact the Executive Secretary via the contact details below with your Qualification numbers (N-222-6747,E-900-56) for further information on the donation."
The message is signed by Mr. Donald White and Mrs. Rosemary Adams.
Krepchin said he sends his suspicious Internet scam messages to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. They recently changed the e-mail address to forward all suspected fraud messages to (email@example.com).
The FTC has additional information on spam and what to do when you receive it at (www.ftc.gov/spam/). There is also a fact sheet on compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act, for businesses who send commercial e-mail messages. It can be found at (tinyurl.com/2qa5kf).
Reader Brandon Abbey, president of Escrow.com, said his company is in the midst of a public-awareness campaign encouraging people to share how they were deceived on the Internet in hopes it will help educate others. Readers vote for the best stories and one winner will receive $500 and other prizes.
You can read more than 560 entries on Internet fraud, or submit your own, at Brickfish.com (tinyurl.com/6nruvd).
My own inbox last week got a message from Sister Maria Donald of the U.K., saying Pope John Paul II left a dying wish that I receive $34 million that had been earmarked for poor children. It would cost me only $2,000 to unlock the funds.
Sorry, sister. That scam doesn't have a prayer of working.
Share your Internet story with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.