ScamBusters Q and A Issue - lottery scams, Mac firewalls, and killer emails: Internet ScamBusters #248
It's hard to believe that it's once again been more than three months since we've done a subscriber Q&A issue! Today we'll answer three subscriber questions:
- Why doesn't ScamBusters ever mention lottery scams?
- Does the built-in Mac firewall work?
- Has someone really been hired to kill me?
Time to get going...
Why Doesn't ScamBusters Ever Mention Lottery Scams?
Question: I'm asking why ScamBusters doesn't include LOTTERIES among your subjects.
I receive one or two almost every day, telling me that my email address has won an enormous amount and asking where they should send it. Most of them give a British name and even a UK phone number, although it's evident that English is not the sender's mother tongue.
I delete them, of course, but how does that scam work? And why doesn't ScamBusters ever even mention it? It's as scammy as Nigeria.
Answer: We're not sure why you think we've never written about lottery scams -- we've actually done over 20 issues and Snippets on this topic. For example, visit: Foreign Lottery Scams and The Microsoft Lottery Scam.
There are many variations of the lottery scam, but they all involve receiving an email or letter that you won money in a lottery you never entered. Most are foreign lotteries, like the ones you mentioned. However, they can be from anywhere.
The most clever scammers send a (bogus) check that is supposedly part of your "winnings," which you can deposit and then are supposed to send them their fees, taxes, or whatever.
Of course, the bogus check bounces and then you're on the hook for the good check you've sent to the scammer.
Be sure to check out the five tips to help you protect yourself from these scams from the first link we mentioned above.
Does the Built-in Mac Firewall Work?
Question: In ScamBusters issue #245, you write: "And whether you use a PC or a Mac, be sure to install a firewall."
My question is: so what's wrong with the built-in Mac firewall?
Answer: Nothing is wrong with the built-in Mac firewall -- in fact, it's what we use on our Macs. However, many people don't have it turned on. 😉
To find out how to turn on and off the built-in firewall, visit Apple's page called "Using a firewall to protect your computer."
On our Windows XP PCs, we use the Comodo firewall.
Has Someone Really Been Hired to Kill Me?
Question: I received this email and I assume it's a scam, but it is very scary nonetheless:
--- Begin Scam Email ---
Subject: Leave Or die
It is important we come to a conclusion now or never because I have been hired to kill you. this is the simple fact and I have been paid well for this job to be sincere with you. I have your full data's. from your name. to your address.to your phone numbers including this email address. I watch you everyday since the past two weeks and I know where you go and when you come back and everything you do. Do not dare me. I am a born killer. which is what I do to survive. I was born and brought up in Mexico.
Never the less, I do not want to kill you. rasons best known to me. only if you will comply with my ransom and I will let you go and even send you the pictures of the person in charge (Who Paid me to kill you) including a very important video tape that you might need
NOTE: No Police. Ignore this message if you wish to die. I give you 5 days to comply or I will come for you. I am presently on another assignment. You have your choice.
[Name Deleted] (No Traces) Reply to: [Email deleted]
--- End Scam Email ---
So, I opened it today. Have you seen any of these scams?
Thank you for your assistance.
Answer: Yes, this scam was first seen last December, and it is one of the scariest email scams people receive. It's called the Hitman scam. You can see another example of a Hitman scam email and read about it here.
Often the scammer tells you upfront how much money they want, and we've seen amounts as high as $150,000!
Action: We recommend you follow the steps in the article on Hitman scams above. This is one scam you'll want to report to the police and the FBI.
That's a wrap for this issue. Wishing you a great week!