Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2012 Issue

Another Internet Scam Seeks to Lure the Unsuspecting

Scam04-12

The message looked personal, but was just another scam.

Periodically, we report on a latest internet scam, as anyone who reads this article is, quite obviously, an internet user, and thereby a potential victim. Sure, you might think we all know enough not be drawn in, but the very fact that we still get these appeals in our email accounts is proof to the contrary. We would not get these solicitations if they never worked. The spammers continually think up new ways to get us to drop our natural wariness, and our guards, one more time.

This latest email attempt came as a surprise as it was sent to me personally, by name. I hadn't seen this before. Usually, it comes to “my dear beloved friend” or some such boilerplate salutation which shows the sender does not know me any more than the millions of other people who received the message. Something sent to me personally, however, seems to warrant more attention than a typical spam.

The sender, one “William Johnson,” notified me that his client, the late “M.A. Stillman,” had died, apparently without heirs. Mr. Johnson, as a caring tribute to his late client, wished to steal his money, and figured since I had the same last name, I could be presented to the bank as his next of kin. In return for participating in the fraud, Mr. Johnson agreed to share the legacy 50-50 with me. This would be no small prize, since M.A.'s bank account contained a cool $8.5 million dollars.

Where M.A. lived, and this money was located, was not revealed. However, I guessed England. I reached that conclusion based on Mr. Johnson calling himself “barrister.” In America, we don't refer to lawyers as “barristers.” We call them “ambulance chasers,” and various other names far worse and unprintable. It is primarily politicians who refer to lawyers so contemptuously, which is really quite ironic. In America, the only group that shows up in polls as being regarded more lowly than lawyers is politicians. Lawyers at least have the hope of some day rising to the level of used car salesmen. For politicians, this is the impossible dream, a goal too far to reach. I digress.

Perhaps I might have been a bit more intrigued by the “barrister's” offer if his English had been a little more polished. One would expect someone who graduated law school in England to speak English better than the typical Nigerian dictator's widow. Eliza Doolittle would have been embarrassed by Mr. Johnson's grammar. As the learned barrister explained, my namesake “died with his family without no one to claim his $8,500,000.” Don't they teach about double negatives in English schools? Barrister Johnson haphazardly ends sentences with commas, leaves no spaces between sentences, and various other grammatical mistakes. He asks me to “conact” him. Wouldn't a real barrister have his secretary proofread his letters offering $8 million deals before sending them out? It's enough to make one wonder if Mr. Johnson truly is a barrister. At least it made me wonder. Mr. “Johnson” is obviously into committing fraud against someone with my last name, but it looks to me like I am the intended victim, not the mythical “M.A. Stillman.” No thanks.

So, the lesson here is no matter how personal the message may be addressed, if it doesn't look right, it almost certainly isn't. It just isn't safe to walk the streets of the internet anymore without extreme caution.


Posted On: 2012-09-06 00:00
User Name: radams14

To me the meanest scam is the "agent" ; in this one you are offered the position of collector in your country for a foreign manufacturer. When


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
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    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
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