During the last few election seasons, I've gone around Wisconsin and before then, Colorado, to help empower voters with the information they need to make the best decisions possible. The goal is to teach them how to do their own fact checks of political claims and not simply rely on media or partisan outlets to do it for them.
What we tend to find is that the political types are not the most creative in the world. What I mean by that is we often see a focus-group tested attack on a number of different candidates. For example, if you see a candidate for Congress, you may see the same tv commercial in Wisconsin that you'd see in North Carolina or Georgia or Arizona with the only difference being the name of the person they're attacking.
It's pretty easy to find this out with the internet these days. All you have to do is type in the first sentence of the commercial inside quote marks into a search engine and see the numerous results that pop up.
Sadly, internet spammers/scammers are equally unclever and the way to discover this is similar to what's used in the political world. Take the email below. I'd never seen it before. It's from a person purporting to be a top inspector with the United Nations at Atlanta's airport overseeing abandoned cargo that contains millions of dollars that he's willing to share with me.
Taking the sheer ridiculous nature of this proposal out of the equation, I copy and pasted the first sentence of the email into Google and I found numerous examples of the same email being sent as far back as the spring of 2012.
C'mon man. I guess if it's worked in the past, why reinvent the wheel, but there's a part of me that wants to believe they've crafted something they think will scam me. However, I'm just a number to them.
As an aside, Ben Collins's email address, the "zing.vn" indicates the internet provider he's using is from Vietnam. That's the "vn." Now, it's not implausible that the UN Inspection Agent in Atlanta is originally from Vietnam because we all know Collins is a popular surname in Hanoi. (Editor's note: Sarcasm)
If you have an email you want to warn folks about, send it to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and then, just hit delete.
Have a great weekend.
From: MR. BEN COLLINS. [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 09, 2014 8:41 AM
Subject: From: Mr. Ben Collins.Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
From: Mr. Ben Collins.
Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Please confirm if you are the owner of the above name and contact address as the address is what we have in the two consignment boxes here in Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport .
I am Mr. Ben Collins. Director Inspection Unit United Nations Inspection Agent in Hartsfield International Airport Atlanta Georgia . During our investigation, I discovered an abandoned shipment from a Diplomat from United Kingdom under ship forwarder was transferred from JF Kennedy Airport to our facility here in Atlanta and when scanned, it revealed an undisclosed sum of money in a Metal Trunk Box weighing approximately 110kg each. The consignment was abandoned because the Content was not properly declared by the consignee as money rather it was declared as personal effect to avoid diversion by the Shipping Agent also the Diplomat inability to pay for Non Inspection Fees.
On my assumption, each of the boxes will contain more that $3 to $4M each and the consignment is still left in storage house till today through a registered shipping Company, Courier Dispatch Service Limited a division of Tran Guard Ltd. The Consignment they are two metal box with weight of about 110kg each (Internal dimension: W61 x H156 x D73 (cm). Effective capacity: 680 L.) Approximately.
The details of the consignment including your name the official document from United Nation office in London are tagged on the Metal Trunk box. You should provide your Phone Number full address, name of nearest Airport around and other details or disregard. You can send the required details to me for onward delivery.
All communication must be held extremely confidential. I can get everything concluded within 3-6 hours upon your acceptance and proceed to your address for delivery. But I must get assurance from you concerning my 50% before I will proceed.
I want us to transact this business and share the money, since the shippers have abandoned it and ran away. I will pay for the Non inspection fee and arrange for the boxes to be moved out of this Airport to your address, once we are through I will deploy the services of a secured shipping Company geared to provide the security it needs to your doorstep, or I can bring it by myself to avoid any more trouble. But I will share it 50% to you and 50% to me.
Now, if you assure me of my 50% of the fund, I will deliver your Metal Trunk Boxes to you in any country you will want to receive the Metal Trunk Boxes or anywhere here in the United States.
I await to hear from you.
Mr. Ben Collins.