You've heard of the Nigerian email scams. Someone sends you an email telling you that a relative has died in a plane crash along with wife and only child. You have been deemed to be the closest relative and entitled to their estate worth millions. All you have to do is send name, address, phone, Social Security number, passport numbers, and bank information. Once they have verified that you are the heir to the estate, they will send the money to your bank account.
There are other variations on the theme. One is the widow of a high ranking government or banking official. Sometimes she is dying and wants her money (again in the millions) to be distributed to the poor, but she's afraid that her greedy relatives won't carry out her wishes.
Another is a mid or upper level banking or government official has uncovered an account worth millions - sometimes overpayments made an oil or construction company - that is about to be found out by corrupt officials who will seize the money for their own benefit.
There are other variations, but they are all the same. They have found your name through a registry or other vaguely described place. They want to get the money out of their country (usually Nigeria, but Russia, Saudi Arabia and South American countries are being used also) and want you to be their agent on this end. You will be well compensated, of course.
Okay, let's say you send them the information they want. You know what you'll get in return? An empty bank account and a stolen identity. You've given them enough, more than enough, actually, information to make your life a living hell for years to come. Do not ever send them any personal information. Don't even send them your telephone number, much less bank account numbers. Actually, I did think of sending them them the Washington FBI address and telephone numbers, but hadn't gotten around to looking them up.
I've somehow managed to get on a mailing list for these scams. I was getting one or two a week, and then one or two a day, and then several in one day. No, I didn't give them information they didn't already have. They had my email, and that's all they had and all they would get. I don't keep much personal information on my computer, so they couldn't find much.
Anyway, I played with a couple of them. Replied, asked questions. Showed I was as greedy as they and asked for money up front. Of course, all I got back was a hard time because I was so greedy. Well, I didn't really have time to play with them, and I'm not sure I was up to playing their games, so I came up with another idea.
I added each of them to my email directory and as I got another email, I forwarded that email to each of the ones in my contacts list. I figured that if they wanted someone who was stupid and greedy, they might as well talk to one of their own.
Since last Thursday when I started this, I haven't received a single email scam. Of course, most of the ones I sent out were bounced back. Their email accounts were closed even before I sent them out. Their ISP's figured out they were scamming, or they closed down on their own, or, I don't know what. But, I haven't gotten any more.
I don't think they like me any more.
::sigh:: I feel so unloved.
Update: They must love me again! I've gotten a couple more! And Jack's Shack reports that "I have been having a most enjoyable time corresponding with a Mr. Shola Rhodes." Jack! Tell us more! Inquiring minds want to know!