A few days ago, when Orb wrote about criminals, probably in Nigeria, who hack into computers, seize contact lists, and then send out emails asking for “emergency loans”, we tried to take a lighthearted, even flippant, approach to what is becoming a serious problem.
That’s because, taking a long view, this scam, which greatly annoys and inconveniences its victims, is a byproduct of the tar baby known as 21st-century technology. It’s a dilemma that society has brought upon itself and that has spun out of control.
Twenty-five years ago, there was no Internet, with its wonders and delights as well as its evils–like serving as the crucible of international terrorism. Today, one can’t live without the worldwide web of horrors, and living with it is often hell on earth. Whaddya gonna do, ya might as well laugh.
But the laughter is becoming strained. This morning, the contacts of Susan Fales-Hill received another of those fraudulent emails, pleading for wire transfers on her behalf.
Susan is of course a New Yorker of distinction: Harvard grad; novelist (“One Flight Up”, “Imperfect Bliss”); TV producer/writer (“A Different World”); daughter of stage star Josephine Premice and society scion Timothy Fales; granddaughter of the donor of the Fales Library at NYU; wife of banker Aaron Hill; longtime dynamo on the board of American Ballet Theatre; beloved figure on the Manhattan social scene. Shall we go on?
Ms. Fales-Hill didn’t need this headache—all she did was click on a bad link—and neither do you. Be cautious.
In case you haven’t seen one of these phony baloney emails, here’s the latest one, replete with risible errors. It was obviously composed by someone unversed in English, not a distinguished author:
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Thought i could reach you out for help, I’m on a Trip to Philippines, i was robbed and hurt last night on my way back to the hotel.. Right now my luggage is in custody of the hotel management pending till when i make payment on my outstanding bills. Please let me know if you can be of any financial help to my predicament, I don’t have a phone where i can be reached, i only have limited access to internet here. I will refund you the money as soon as I get back home.
Please let me know if you can help.