Submissions wanted from LGBT and HIV communities

I’m a transwoman and my co-writer, a positive woman, are working on a project detailing how society treats members of the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities at the various stages of our journeys. A few years ago, I spoke with a psychologist at CAMH in Toronto who thought such a book would be a great benefit to them in their work.

We have our own experiences to draw on, but would like to hear other people’s experiences. No names will be used in this and any submissions will be checked to remove any clues that might give away your location. For example, if a submission from Toronto refers to “streetcars”, that would be replaced with the term “public transit” and any route names or number removed. Additionally, specific cities will be removed and replaced with either the name of your province or state, or a more generic term such as “midwest” will be substituted. We will do everything we can to protect your identity.

We both have friends in the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities, so can call upon them for information, but that would be quite localized in scope. We need to hear from others, not just in Canada, but from anywhere. We especially would like to hear from transmen, for their experiences would no doubt be much different from my own. If you have generally found acceptance, great! Please tell us for that may give those just starting their new lives hope that things will get better. If you’ve experienced discrimination, or worse, please share that as well. Others need to know what pitfalls and danger may await them. Either way, we would like to share your story.

If you are willing to share your journey, you can send it to us at the following email address: 1outcastsofsociety@gmail.com Please remember the “1″ at the start of the address as the address without the numeral is taken.

Thank you,
Cat.

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The answer is still “no”

I received the following email in my Gmail spam today:
GOOD NEWS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

GOD BLESS AMERICA <WW.@oregano.ocn.ne.jp>

17:18 (21 hours ago)

to

GOOD NEWS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

I am Mrs. Michelle Obama, and I am writing to inform you about your Bank Check Draft brought back by the United Embassy from the government of Benin Republic in the white house Washington DC been mandated to be deliver to your home address once you reconfirm it with the one we have here with us to avoid wrong delivery

Sixty million united states dollars 60,000,000,00usd that was assigned to be delivered to your humble home address by my husband Honorable president Barrack Obama the president of this great country this week by a delivery agent Mr JAMES BOOMBERG

I will like you to reconfirm to me the following details
Your phone number…………..?
Your current home address……?
Your full name…………………?
Occupation……………….?
Next of kin…………….?
Your email address…………..?
Password………………?

The reason I ask you to reconfirm to me this following details is to avoid wrong delivery.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF YOUR FUND YOU CAN CALL OR TEXT MY HUSBAND THE PRESIDENT OF THIS GREAT NATION +1 (202) 792-0696

Yours Sincerely,
MRS MICHELLE HUSSEIN OBAMA
FIRST_LADY USA

Wow! The First Lady is sending me an email telling me she has my sixty mill US from Benin.

There are problems with this message. First, although it purports to be from the White House, the extension on the sender’s email is “.jp”, which last time I checked was Japan. Second, the addressee is blank. And finally, I’m Canadian, so why the hell would Michelle Obama be sending me anything?

Couple more things are wrong. President Obama’s first name is spelled “barrack”, which as I recall from my army days is similar in nature to a dormitory. And when she “signed” the letter, she would have used her middle name, not her husband’s.

Being the cynic I am, I guess by writing this blog and telling others I’m doing myself out of sixty million dollars US, which at current exchange rates would be about seventy mill Canadian. Ah well, easy come, easy go.

Enjoy your day, don’t take any wooden nickels and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

This time she’s not playing

I was away for a couple of days and upon my return found this in my gmail spam:
Mrs Vivian Douglas <.it>

04:26 (22 hours ago)

to

Attn,

I have to inform you again, that we are not playing over this, I know my
reason for the continuous sending of this notification to you, the fact is that
you can’t seem to trust any one again over this payment for what you have been
in cantered in many months ago, but I want you to trust me, I cannot scam you
for $49 it is for bank processing of your payment, the fees of $49 is clearly
written to you before, I did not invent the bill to defraud you of $49 it is an
official bank payment processing fee, and the good part of this, is that you
will never, ever be disturbed again over any kind of payment, this is final,
and the forms from there becomes effective once we submit your payment
application processing fee and pay the form fee of $49 I don’t want you to
loose this fund this time, because you may never get another such good
opportunity, the federal government is keen and very determined to pay your
overdue debts, this is not a fluke, I would not want
you to loose this fund out of ignorance, I will send you all the documents as
soon as bank payment processing fee is paid, you have to trust me, you will get
your fund, find a way to get $49 you will not loose it, instead it will bring
your financial breakthrough, find the money and send it to our bursary. The
reason why am sending you this because I want you to receive your USD1.8M
immediately we are trying to round up for this payment program.

The processing charges which was initially on the high price has been cut down
by the payout bank considering the poor economic situations that make it
difficult for the middle class citizens to meet up with the processing charges
of their entitlement. Upon the confirmation of your processing charges you will
get your $1.8M into
your account within 15hrs.

Here is the payment information through western union money transfer only,
finally my advice to you is not to abandon this transaction because of the
requirement of ($49) send the fee through western union or money gram.

Receivers name:Prince Egbo
Location address:Cotonou Benin Republic
Text Question: When
Answer: Today
Amount required: $49

Sender’s Name:
MTCN Number#:
Sender’s address:

Sender’s full banking details to avoid wrong transfer:
NAME AND ADDRESS OF BANK:
ACCOUNT NAME:
ACCOUNT NO:

As soon as the payment is received today, you will receive your $1.8M the same
today without any delay.

Yours Faithfully,
Mrs Vivian Douglas
Email:@gmail.com
+22961129879

I’ve deleted most of the mail addresses just to keep from running afoul or WordPress policy – again.

This is interesting in many ways. First, despite her assertion she’s been sending me these emails for a while, that is not so, otherwise I would have written of it before. Second, although she is talking about a “prince” in Benin, the email was sent from an Italian (.it) website and the response is to go to a gmail address.

A few more red flags: The addressee has been left blank, as has the “attn” line. If you don’t know my name, why are you contacting me with this offer? And learn to use the correct word. It should be “lose” not “loose”.

Then there’s the information they ask for. What the hell is an “MTCN” number?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you are foolish enough to actually send the forty-nine bucks and the information, you’ll have lost not only the $49, but probably everything else in your bank account. If you receive this email, or anything similar, delete it. Answering it will not result in you becoming a millionaire.

Since it’s Friday, enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

Notes on a phishing expedition

I found the following in my gmail spam this morning and it easily lends itself to explaining some of the telltales it is a scam and/or phishing expedition. I’ve put the areas I wish to discuss in boldface for you.

CONTACT HSBC BANK FOR YOUR BANK TRANSFER UPDATE

Mr. Stanley Clarke @gmail.com>

01:48 (9 hours ago)

to

HSBC Regional Bank FL (HSBC Regional Bank)
Avenue Cotonou , BP 988 Cotonou Benin Republic.
Telex :5211 F B COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC .
Tel::+22968579277
From the desk of, Mr. Stanley Clarke ,
Director Payment Department. Hsbc Bank
of West African(HSBC Regional Bank)
Instant compensation Payment valued at US$7,500.000.00 usd

It is my modest obligation to write you this letter as regards the authorization of your owed payment through our most respected financial institution (HSBC Regional Bank). I am Mr. Stanley Clarke , the chief executive officer, foreign operations department HSBC Regional Bank, the British government in conjunction with U.S government, united nations organization on foreign payment matters has empowered my bank after much consultation and consideration to handle all foreign payments and release them to their appropriate beneficiaries.
Having received these vital payment numbers, you are instantly qualified to receive and confirm your payment with us within the next 48hrs.

Be well informed that we have verified your payment file as directed to us and your name is next on the list of our outstanding fund beneficiaries to receive their payment before the end of this first term of the year 2015. Be advised that because of too many funds beneficiaries due for payment at this first quarter of the year, you are entitled to receive the sum of Seven million Five hundred thousand United State dollars (7,500.000.00 us dollars only) as part payment of your fund.
So you are therefore advise to re-confirm the following Information for immediate payment processing.

1) Your full name:…..
2) Your full address:….
3) Your contact telephone and Fax:…..
4) Your profession:…….
5) Any valid form of your identification/driven license:…

As soon as we receive the above mentioned information, your payment will be processed and released to you without any further delay. Be also informed that You are not allowed to communicate with any other person(s) or office so as to avoid conflict of information, you are required to provide the above information for your transfer to take place through HSBC Regional Bank to your personal bank account.

We look forward to serving you better.

Yours sincerely.

First, I doubt strongly a firm with the global reach of HSBC would be using a gmail address. Email would probably come from their own site. Incidentally, I deleted the sender’s name which was shown as “johnsonmarkso99″ because I’ve had a problem with WordPress not liking too many email addresses in blogs – they take it as spam and shut you down.

Next, Benin Republic. Benin seems to have become the new Nigeria for this type of scam. I’ve also received similar messages from Burkina Faso among others.

Another clue this is a shotgun style scam is that it isn’t addressed to anyone in particular.

US$7,500,000 is a nice amount to offer. Not too large as to seem suspicious, yet not small enough to make people ignore it. However, the way they showed the amount “US$7,500,000.00 usd” is not the way a legitimate banking operation would show any dollar figure.

Dummy, you forgot to change the year to 2016. If you did indeed mean “the year 2015″, you’ve been very lax in performing you duties in advising me.

Now that they’ve dangled the bait in the form of seven-and-a-half mill, they set the hook. Notice the information they ask for, especially the inclusion of a copy of some form of identification. If you were foolish enough to actually send them the requested information, you can not only kiss the 7.5 good-bye, but you’ve given them sufficient information to steal your identity. But of course since you’re one of my followers or readers, you have the smarts not to fall for this.

The fact you are advised not to tell anyone about this is to stop you from going to the authorities once they’ve stolen your name. (Damn!! Since I’m telling you, I guess I’m not getting my money. Oh well.)

There is one more thing that is glaring in its absence. They ask for all kinds of information except for the number of the bank account in which you want the money deposited. Were this legitimate, wouldn’t you think they’d need that information?

These are a few of the things to watch for the next time someone tells you they’ve got millions for you and they are all red flags.

Enjoy your weekend (unless you’re in the northeastern US, in which case, stay safe); don’t take any wooden nickels and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat

Yes, I am

I was away for a couple of days and found the following in my gmail spam upon my return:

Mr. Boni Gozie <robinsonfranklin@cantv.net>

8 Dec (4 days ago)

to ces854

I am writing to confirm the fact if you are (Dead) Or (Alive)? Because Mr. Jude Betsy came to our office stated that you are dead and failure to reply back in the next 24hrs simply means what Mr. Jude Betsy said was right that you are dead. And Mr. Jude Betsy has agreed to pay the needed valued of $105 dollars required for the transfer charge fee of your consignment box, but we have not gotten the fee from him yet as we want to find out if you are dead or not, so if you are still (alive) you are advice in your own best interest to reply back within 24hrs, Regards Mr. Boni Gozie.

Checking the details, I note the actual sender was in Benin. The lack of an actual addressee, combined with the poor English all tell me this is some kind of scam or phishing attempt. The email address “cantv.net” is also a giveaway. I posted a warning on Facebook last week after I noticed I had received several messages telling me my money was ready to be sent from this same address. All they needed were an amount of money and my personal details.

Obviously I’m not going to respond, but I wonder what they’d do had I responded with the title of this piece, “yes, I am”.

Remember, if you get messages from “cantv.net” they only want your money and personal details. You’ll get nothing but grief in return.

Cat.

Nice try

My email brought me the following early this afternoon:

iTunes <iTunes@websitewelcome.com>

Identity verification required

Dear Customer ,

You have received this email because our system has noticed some unusual activity under your Apple ID account.

We have taken steps to ensure nothing can be purchased until you have confirmed your identity.

Please take a moment to confirm it using the link below.
< Click Here

Thanks,
Apple Customer Support
TM and copyright © 2014 Apple Inc. 1 Infinite Loop, MS 96-DM, Cupertino, CA 95014.

Sounds serious, doesn’t it? I can’t speak for you, but when I see something like this, one of the first things I do is check my credit card statement to see if there has indeed been any unusual activity involving the company telling me I’ve been cut off. Since I haven’t bought anything from iTunes in months, any purchases would show up immediately and I’d be on the phone to the credit card company. Nothing. The only purchase in the last week was the incense I bought yesterday.

This showed as being sent “to me”, which is quite common for gmail I’ve found. But there is a little arrow that allows you to see more information. Clicked on the arrow and found something very interesting. It wasn’t sent from iTunes or Apple. Oh no. Here’s what the detailed information showed me:

from: iTunes <iTunes@websitewelcome

to: gcathoward@
cc: iTunes@websitewelcome.com
date: 2 May 2014 12:05
subject: Your Apple ID Has Been Temporarily Restricted
mailed-by: subaru.websitewelcome

Since WordPress’s robots consider any posting with too many links to be spam and blocks your account (I had it happen last year) I’ve removed the extensions on the addresses, but they were both “.com” and I removed the balance of my address for the same reason.

I’m working on only my second coffee of the day so perhaps my brain isn’t fully functioning yet, but am I the only one who finds it suspicious that a message purportedly sent by iTunes is actually being sent by Subaru? I suspect that had I actually clicked on the link I would have provided Subaru with all kinds of information that would have resulted in all kinds of promotional information being sent to me.

Not that I have anything against Subaru. We had a new sedan back in 1983 and I loved it. And truth be told, I’d love to have a new WRX Sti, but that ain’t gonna happen. Besides, there’s something about a 70 year old woman flying around in Subaru’s nastiest offering that puts people off.

If you receive a similar email apparently from iTunes, before you do anything, check your credit card statement. And when you find there is nothing unusual, delete the email. DO NOT, under any circumstances, click on the link.

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

They’re back

On September 9, 2012, I wrote a blog about China Shenhua Energy and their “contest” in which I won a 2012 3-series BMW (value$42,505 – same as this year) and one-and-a-half million US. I keep copies of these emails and the resultant blogs just so I can refer back to them, as in this case.

Today’s spam contained another email from them. This time the extension on the sender’s name showed “ru”, which is Russia. Seems a little odd for a Chinese company wouldn’t you say? There are a few things which stand out in today’s email. They’ve upgraded to a 2013 BMW for one thing.

Amazingly, the number they ask me to quote in my reply is the exact same number they used eighteen months ago. Does that mean I’m going to get a 2012 3-series? Still in the body of the bill, they ask me to contact Doctor Francis Chen. In the previous message, they gave me a London address. This time, while it asks me to contact Dr Chen, the contact information is for Dr Fred Chang, in New Delhi, India. Sloppy editing on their part obviously.

What takes this message from being just plain annoying to hilarious is the note they’ve added to the end of the email. Here it is in its entirety: * NOTE* : If you find this mail in your spam or junk folder, it is due to the service of your internet provider. Wrong. It’s in my spam folder because that is where the gmail filter put it. It has nothing to do with my internet provider.

If you receive this email, don’t give them any information. You aren’t going to get a BMW and 1.5 million. All you’re going to get is a lot of grief because you’ve provided them with enough information for them to set up a phony identity.

The same spam also contained a message from someone purporting to be Fedex telling me they were holding a package containing a bank draft for $750,000 US and if I send then $120 they’ll send it to me. I’ll get right on that.

Not a bad haul for a quiet Wednesday. Both emails, including the value of the car, mean that I’ve picked up about 2.3 million, more if I convert it to Canadian funds, before lunch. Maybe I can conquer the world. But first, I need coffee.

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.