How many will answer?

DATE: Nov 20

TITLE: How many will answer?

I found the following in the spam folder of one of my email accounts earlier tonight.

From: ING BANK OF TURKEY
Reply To: mrsel@ya

Dear Friend,

I got your e-mail address contact through your country’s Information exchange online while browsing and after that, I decided to contact you to ask for your assistance in this urgent matter that requires trust, confidentiality because you might receive this message in your inbox, Junk/Spam folder.

My name is Mr. Selim the senior Manager of ING Bank Turkey, Acibadem Branch of Istanbul Turkey (IBT) European Banking Corporation Limited Europe. I am a 55 years old man, married with three children. I have a very urgent, confidential, and profitable business for both of us Valued at (Twenty Five Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars). This fund is an excess of what my branch in which I am the senior manager made as profit last year. I have already submitted an approved End of the Year 2020 report to our Head Office, and they will never know of this Excess. I have since then placed this amount of (Twenty Five Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) on a SUSPENSE SECURITY without a beneficiary. As a Senior Manager of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this money thus I am impelled to request your assistance to receive this money as the beneficiary of the funds.

If we could do this together, we shall share these funds 50/50 between us accordingly and this transaction is 100% risk-free, as no-risk involved during or after this transaction. All I need from you is to stand as the original depositor of this fund, also to keep this deal confidential between us. If you’re interested, kindly write back for more information, while I shall explain more in detail as soon as I receive a response from you.

Thanks for your kind understanding! Awaiting your response,

Mr.Selim

The Senior Manager of ING Bank Turkey,
Acibadem Branch of Istanbul Turkey (IBT)
Bulgurlu Mahallesi Acibadem Caddesi No: 156 34660 skdar / Istanbul

Okay now, let’s tear this apart. The first sign this is not real is that it wasn’t sent to me specifically. In fact, there is no addressee shown at all. Second, although it purports to be from ING Bank in Turkey, the actual email address was a gmail account. I highly doubt the ING Bank in Turkey, a subsidiary of the Dutch multinational ING, would use gmail as their default email. Next, the “reply to” address is “yandex”, which a quick Google search tells me is a Russian search engine among other things.

$25,500,000 is a lot of money in any currency and the proposed 50/50 “split” would mean I’d stand to receive $12,750,000 US,( $16,060,000 CAD at the present exchange rate) if this were in fact legitimate. That itself may entice people to respond.

If I were to respond – I’m crazy, but not stupid, so I won’t – I’d probably be asked to provide various bits of personal information, including my bank account numbers. The result of my gullibility would be to give them access to my account and my huge balance of about $3.84 cents. Of course they would assure me they only wanted the banking information so they could transfer the money to me, but in actuality, they’d just drain my money.

Then there are the legal problems. Most banks are required by law to report any deposit over $10,000 to the government. So, unless I could prove I won the money in a lottery, I’d be answering a lot of questions from federal investigators.

Oh yes, and the personal details “I am a 55 years old man, married with three children.” is a nice but unnecessary touch. I suppose it’s supposed to make me feel all warm and fuzzy and more willing to listen. Well, Selim, I’m a 77 year old grandmother with a healthy streak of cynicism.

If you should receive this email, or any email like this, just delete it. Not every scam artist is a Nigerian Prince, some are Turkish bankers.

Stay safe and remember to give an artist a virtual, socially distanced hug – we need love too.

Cat.

The gov’t giveth – sort of

Back in mid-April, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal issued an order to the Ministry of Government Services, specifically the Office of the Registrar General, to find some other criterion for changing the gender on one’s birth certificate.  The Ministry was given 180 days to do this.  Until now, the only way was for the trans person to have gender re-assignment surgery and provide a certificate from the surgeon.  Someone who couldn’t have the surgery felt this was discriminatory and took the Ministry to the Human Rights Tribunal.   The Tribunal agreed and the result was the “you’ve got 180 days to come up with something else” ruling.

As it worked out, the 180 day period expired on Monday October 8, which was a holiday (Thanksgiving Monday) in Ontario.  Without any fanfare or announcement, the Ministry of Government Services quietly made the forms available on the government website on Friday, October 5. I learned of this through a friend’s posting last Saturday.  So, as I wrote (with abbreviation) in the title “the government giveth”.

Now, the “sort of”.  The requirements are extremely restrictive.

The applicant must be 18 years old and born in Ontario.

A letter from a “practising physician or psychologist” authorized to practice in Canada, and on the doctor’s letterhead. This letter must state the following:
 – the doctor is a member in good standing with the appropriate governing body.
 – the doctor has treated the applicant.
– the doctor must confirm the gender identity does not accord with the sex designation on  the birth registration.
– the doctor is of the opinion the change of sex designation is appropriate.

Now, some people don’t have a regular doctor who could affirm these requirements, so they wouldn’t qualify.  And if the person is a minor or not born in Ontario, they too would be shut out.  Oh yes – the doctor will have my letter ready next Tuesday.

The fee for this is $97.  That’s for processing the application, plus copies of the short form (wallet size) birth certificate and a certified copy of the birth registration.  Many trans people are either in low-paying jobs, or not working at all, so this fee is in itself another barrier to  them making use of this ruling.  And there is a Statutory Declaration to be completed stating that I’m the person named and I want to do this.  Naturally there is also a fee for having this Declaration sworn, so the total could be as high as $120, which may be beyond the means of many trans people.

So while the Ontario government did indeed obey the ruling of the Human Rights Tribunal, there is a sense of “I’ll do it, but I won’t like it” about the whole thing.  This is from the same government that, last spring, also passed a Bill guaranteeing trans people the same rights and privileges as the rest of the citizens of Ontario. Their actions on this would seem to belie that Bill.

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

Cat