How gullible do you think I am?

Don’t answer that. The question is intended for whoever sent me the following text message yesterday morning:
(613) xxx-6064 (I left the exchange out on purpose)

We are Private Lenders. looking for courier or delivery drivers part /full time in the GTA Get paid upfront daily with a certified cheque to make loans delivery in small envelopes to our customer and for each delivery, you make between 150$ to 500$ depending on experience.
Requirements are that you’re 18+ and interested to start right away Text us your name and best time to reach you

Okay, first, area code 613 is eastern Ontario – roughly Ottawa west to Belleville.

An observation: whoever wrote this needs to study up on punctuation.

I have several questions regarding the remuneration, such as it seems to be an unusually high amount for each delivery. Right away that calls the legality of this into question at least to me. I’ve worked as a courier in the past and the thoughts of making the same money for one delivery as I was making in three days seems suspicious. Also, getting paid daily “upfront” by certified cheque would indicate to me that this “Lender” knows in advance what my deliveries would be each day. Looking at the logistics of this, the “Lender” is located in eastern Ontario somewhere so even if they’re in Belleville, it’s still at least a two hour drive to get the cheque and deliveries to me. If they’ve driven that far already, it would only be about another 45 minutes to downtown Toronto, so why wouldn’t they do the deliveries with their own driver? Unless there’s a reason they don’t want their driver identified.

No, I didn’t text them my name and availability. For one thing, I don’t own a vehicle and as I’ve written above, this seems very sketchy.

Stay safe and since you can’t hug an artist right now, think pleasant thoughts about us and our endeavours – we need love too.
Cat.

Someone’s trying again

DATE: Nov 23

TITLE: Someone’s trying again

On December 6, 2019 I published blog called “Sorry Sarge, not happening” about an email I received purporting to be from New South Wales Australia. The sender claimed to be a Sgt Monica L Brown and she had a proposal for me. Oh, what the heck. Here’s the blog. It’s a short one.

DATE: Dec 6

TITLE: Sorry Sarge, not happening

I received the following email this morning. I’ve removed the email address to keep me in WordPress’s good graces.

Griffin, Christine Cgriffin

I am Sgt Monica L Brown I have a proposal for you! Please send me a reply on my personal Email:

slinbrown975

Rather cryptic and designed to instill curiosity in the reader isn’t it? Let’s look at it.

I am Sgt Monica L Brown Good for you. Are you in the army? Air Force, or the local police or some other paramilitary organisation that uses military ranking? Just telling me your rank doesn’t tell me anything useful.

I have a proposal for you! Really!! And what might that be? Do you have several millions in unclaimed funds you want me to help you smuggle out of the country for a cut of said money?

The extension on the sender’s email was “begavalley.nsw.gov.au”, which I translate to mean this was sent by, or on behalf, of the government of the shire of Bega Valley in New South Wales, Australia. A quick Google search shows this area is also known as “the Sapphire Coast” and it appears to be a tourist destination.

I have to ask myself why the government of a tourist area on the west coast of Australia would be contacting a 75 year-old woman in Canada with a proposal? The only thing that comes to mind is that the website has been hacked and this is in fact a scam. Having these suspicions, I have forwarded this to the Bega Valley Council for investigation.

As mysterious and inviting as this may sound, I strongly recommend you do NOT respond to Sargent Monica L Brown.

On the plus side, for a change it is well-written.

Cat.

So why am I talking about an eleven month old blog that had a total of six views over that period of time? (And yes, admitting that count hurts.) Because yesterday, November 22, the view count ballooned to 32. Readers were mainly from Mexico on down through South America. This sudden interest in the blog, plus the locations of the readers leads me to the conclusion that whoever sent that email using the name Sgt Monica L Brown is trying it again, targeting South America this time. As I wrote almost a year ago, if you get this do NOT respond to the Sarge.

In this time of pandemic I urge you all to stay safe and while you can’t hug an artist right now, think positive thoughts about us, we still need love.

Cat.

Of course it’s true

This morning I found the following email in a spam folder for an email account I rarely use. I removed part of the email address to keep me out of WordPress’s bad books again.

Officefile2001

Greeting!
This is Mr. Chad F. Wolf, the current Secretary of Homeland Security.
During my routine checks on our warehouse yesterday we discovered a cargo box, while scanning the box our cash tracking machine has detected that the content of the Box the diplomat was delivering to you is cash worth $ 8.5 million.
The diplomat who arrived with the box made several attempts to reach you. All the efforts he made were abortive so he decided to leave the box and travel back to his country, so if you are interested in receiving this fund back then get back to me now with your full information for the delivery.
Copy this email and reply me now only officefileua
REPLY ON THIS EMAIL ONLY >> officefileua
My regards
Chad F. Wolf

Well, to give this person, whoever they really are, their due, the got the name of the acting Homeland Security Secretary correct. But that’s about all.

If I were in the United States and completely braindead I could probably convince myself that some unnamed diplomat from some unknown country really was sending me eight and a half million dollars. I could really believe this unknown person honestly wanted me to have all this cash, although I don’t recall any conversations of any kind regarding this transaction. But, if Homeland Security says they have all this money for me, who am I to argue? After all they are the government. So, of course it’s true.

Okay, enough sarcasm. Time to take this apart. First, it was sent to the email address I use on that account, which is much better than the usual “undisclosed recipients”. I suppose they (the mysterious “they”) feel it will have more impact if it’s a personal message rather than a shotgun approach. But, unlike email providers such as gmail, which could be anywhere, this is a specifically Canadian provider and most subscribers are in western Canada. So right there, if I’m getting a message from Homeland Security, I’m automatically suspicious since I’m not in the US. And think about this: If Homeland could find my email address to notify me, why couldn’t this unknown diplomat have done the same?

I’m not really sure how this works, but I think that the diplomatic corps of any country isn’t just going to abandon 8.5 million. That kind of money isn’t exactly chump change, no matter what country you’re in. I would also think that once the money is abandoned, it ceases to be covered by any treaties covering diplomatic immunity. That being the case, I know there are Customs requirements that all currency must be declared and failure to do so could result in either confiscation or a hefty fine.

I suspect that if anyone were to fall for this and contact this Chad Wolf they’d be told that if they want this money, they will have to pay this fine, plus processing fees and storage charges. In other words, the only parties to make any money from this transaction would be those running the scam.

If you receive something like this, don’t go buy a Bugatti. Do the sensible thing and just delete the message. While using the name of a known government agency and it’s current head may seem to give it a legitimate feel, it really is just intended to separate you from your hard-earned money.

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love (and social distancing) too.

Cat.

Not falling for it

I found the following email, dated today, in a junk folder:

MICROSOFT
Thank You For Making A Payment Online We Have Received
Your Order For The AUTO-RENEWAL Plan
•SERVICES = MICROSOFT LICENSE
•PAYMENT = 299.99

SUMMARY = Your MICROSOFT License Key Is #9892305
•PAYMENT SOURCE = CARD
•PAYMENT DATE = 04 / 25 /2020
•CONFORMATION NUMBER = #9891305

NOTE = If You Believe That You Have Not Make
= This Purchase or It Has Been Auto-renewed
= Automatically . Then Call The Help Desk To CANCEL .

TOLL-FREE = (607) 325 3365

I have several problems with this email. First, the only Microsoft product I have is Windows. Second, the spelling is atrocious “conformation”? Seriously? The word should be “confirmation”, which has a different meaning. The English is horrid, for example “..that you have not make...” and “…it has been auto-renewed automatically.” I was always under the impression that is something is “auto-renewed” it did happen automatically and there would be no reason to spell it out. And finally, that “toll-free” number isn’t. Area code 607 covers south-central New York State, such as Binghamton and Ithaca.

The final thing wrong with this is that while it purports to come from Microsoft, the actual sender’s email is kenneth@ gailew. (I’ve modified the email address to keep me out of trouble with WordPress)  Not exactly Microsoft.

If you get this email, don’t bother to phone the help desk. Just do as I did and consign the message to trash.

Stay safe, stay indoors as much as possible and, given the current situation, just think about hugging an artist, we need love (and social distancing) too.

Cat.

I won again!

I received the following in my inbox a couple of hours ago:

CNN’s Good Stuff

14:05 (2 hours ago)

Congratulations, You Have Been Selected To Get A $360 Cvs Pharmacy GiftCard,
In Order To Take Your Gift Card All You Have To Do Is Just Answering A
Short Survey About Your Shopping Experiences At Cvs

I’ve removed the email address and links to keep me out of trouble with WordPress (it’s happened before).

The problem with this email is first, I doubt CNN operates that way and perhaps the biggest problem of all is we don’t have CVS in Canada. Also, and not to sound greedy, by $360 sounds like an odd amount.

If you receive this email, be aware the actual sender’s address is a gmail address, not from CNN.

My advice is that if you get this email, just delete it, or do what I did and send a copy to CNN.

Take care and stay healthy,

Cat.

Another phone scam

Today, within the span of five minutes, I received two phone calls – one on my cell, from the Ottawa area code – and one on my landline from a toll-free number.

Both calls had the same message – they had detected “fraudulent activity” involving my Social Insurance Number and threatening me with arrest and prosecution. Both calls are scams, designed to get you to give up personal information starting with your SIN number.

From the website for Employment and Social Services Canada, a government agency:

Jun 28, 2019 – The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a 9 digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits. A SIN is issued to one person only and it cannot legally be used by anyone else. You are responsible for protecting your SIN.

The only time you would use this number is when dealing with federal government departments, or when you get a new job. Even then, the employer doesn’t need it until you are hired.

If you get one of these calls, know they are looking for your information, probably in order to set up false identities, which could leave you, the actual holder of the card, is serious debt or trouble. My suggestion is hang up, or if you’ve let an unknown number go to voicemail, delete it.

Cat.

They keep trying

A little while ago, I received a text message from “Management Team” at Toronto phone number 437-240-6722 telling me a restriction had been placed on my TD Visa card. The sender quoted a Visa card number that, while it had the correct prefix for TD cards, had no other relation to my actual card number. The message stated my card was “immediately blocked, because of “Security Limitation. Then followed some nonsensical, but intended to sound official, numbers. Finally, the text read “Please text ‘Y’ to initialize removal of holds.”

Right, sure, anything you say. First of all, this is not the first text I’ve received of this kind. Some of them come from banks I don’t even deal with, so I am aware these are just looking for information. I’ve never texted “Y” back, but I presume that if I did, I’d be asked all kinds of questions to “confirm my account” when really all they want is my information. So, what did I do? I did what any reasonable person would, or should, do – I called Visa and reported the attempted phishing to them. I know the state of my account, so wasn’t fooled by the message.

If you receive a text message like this, or anything similar, don’t just blindly answer “Y”, check it out. You could save yourself and your credit rating a whole lot of financial hurt. I also suggest you keep tabs on your Visa card (or any other credit card) balance. That way you won’t get fooled.

Cat.

Sorry Sarge, not happening

I received the following email this morning. I’ve removed the email address to keep me in WordPress’s good graces.

Griffin, Christine Cgriffin

I am Sgt Monica L Brown I have a proposal for you! Please send me a reply on my personal Email:

slinbrown975

Rather cryptic and designed to instill curiosity in the reader isn’t it? Let’s look at it.

I am Sgt Monica L Brown Good for you. Are you in the army? Air Force, or the local police or some other paramilitary organisation that uses military ranking? Just telling me your rank doesn’t tell me anything useful.

I have a proposal for you! Really!! And what might that be? Do you have several millions in unclaimed funds you want me to help you smuggle out of the country for a cut of said money?

The extension on the sender’s email was “begavalley.nsw.gov.au”, which I translate to mean this was sent by, or on behalf, of the government of the shire of Bega Valley in New South Wales, Australia. A quick Google search shows this area is also known as “the Sapphire Coast” and it appears to be a tourist destination.

I have to ask myself why the government of a tourist area on the west coast of Australia would be contacting a 75 year-old woman in Canada with a proposal? The only thing that comes to mind is that the website has been hacked and this is in fact a scam. Having these suspicions, I have forwarded this to the Bega Valley Council for investigation.

As mysterious and inviting as this may sound, I strongly recommend you do NOT respond to Sargent Monica L Brown.

On the plus side, for a change it is well-written.

Cat.

Yet another phishing attempt

Oh no! I recently received a text message about my debit card from CIBC – The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Here’s the message:

You have 1 CIBC alert, Your Debit Card that begins with ‘4506′. Unable to process further purchases; <Access Code>: LBCRIY. Promptly reply by responding with Y to this text.

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way – I don’t deal with CIBC so don’t have a debit card, or access card to use its proper name. Right there I knew it was some sort of exploratory expedition. I already knew from the area code that it was from somewhere in the Toronto area, then used reverse lookup to check the telephone number and found it was an Oakville exchange. If you aren’t familiar with the Toronto area, Oakville is west of Toronto, on the shore of Lake Ontario and is the home of Ford Motor of Canada.

Okay, on to other things: It is possible that people will read this text and instantly respond as requested. The text contains the numbers ‘4506′ and some may see this message, get out their card to check the number and think “OMG! It must be real because they’ve got the first four numbers right!” Logical assumption, but wrong. Those first four digits of your access/debit card are just the identifier – 4506 is the code for CIBC – and other Canadian banks will have four digit codes starting with “4″ as well. Other countries may have a different first digit, but it will be the identifier..

My advice is simple: If you get this text (and I’ve had several from various banks I don’t deal with) just delete it. If by chance they should happen to hit on your bank, do the sensible thing. Don’t panic. Check with your bank. There’s a telephone number on the back of the card you can call. Stay safe and if you’re doubtful – ask your bank.

Cat.

Random and various

1 – Let’s get the big one over with first: Justin Trudeau. How many of us, excluding Andrew Scheer who claims to have never done anything, did some kind of dumb-ass shit in our twenties? For me, that was the sixties and personal video cameras and social media didn’t exist then, so there’s no proof I was anything other than an angel. (And I’m sticking to that story.)

2 – Sticking with the upcoming Canadian election, I won’t try to influence how you vote – there are plenty of fake news sites already doing that. I’m just going to suggest that rather than just accept a single source for information, check other legitimate sites as well and if it is a third party ad google them to see if they have any obvious bias. You may find that ad you saw that said so-and-so is a complete incompetent idiot is a troll site based in some foreign country. CPAC, the channel that provides coverage from inside the House of Commons, is also offering election coverage and I would think their election reporting would be as even-handed as their Commons coverage. But, where you choose to get your information, and what you choose to believe of that information, is up to you. Question claims, no matter the source and vote according to your conscience, but vote.

3 – I’ve seen some ads on television lately for Quickbooks, an online business accounting system. One of the claims of these ads is that you can get paid quicker. I must take exception to that claim. Yes, you can issue an invoice faster, but you have no control over when it gets paid. Unless the terms of the invoice are “2% 10, net 30 days” I’m not paying it until I have to.

4 – I got an interesting text message last night claiming to be from the Simcoe County District School Board, a legitimate school board in Ontario, telling me my phone number has just won me $3,000,000 US funds. Several things wrong with this. First, Simcoe County is north of Toronto, so why would they choose a telephone number with a Toronto area code as a “winner” in a contest I never entered. Second, this is Ontario and Premier Doug Ford is slashing education budgets on a grand scale, so I highly doubt Simcoe County could afford to give away three million. If they had that kind of money lying around, they’d sink it into the system, not award it to some random stranger. I forwarded the message to the School Board. They thanked me and said they were aware of the scam and are investigating.

Okay, rant finished. Since this is the first day of autumn, treasure the few warm days that remain and enjoy the fall colours. Winter will soon be upon us.

Remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.