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A Dispatch

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August 05, 2005

Watching a Train Wreck

A lot of people are going to be ripped off today, and there's not a damned thing I can do about it.

I'm sure I wasn't the only one to receive the following message (phone number blocked out):

: )))

Please be aware that your refund which totals $1,742.63 is available and ready for you to either pick up or we can send it to you.

Call me anytime at ***-***-**** for more info.

Please email me back and let me know how to proceed.

Refund Dept.

The return email address is from a yahoo.com account, although the message originated from a server (or hijacked computer-turned-server) in Sudan.

I don't know for sure what kind of scam this is, but I suspect it's either identity theft (you have to supply all kinds of personal info to obtain your refund—not) or a telephone redirect that lands a hefty (and irreversible) charge on your next phone bill. My money's on the former.

The phone number is in the Reno, Nevada area, and I'll give a call to law enforcement there. I may sound defeatest, but I don't expect much help in tracking down what this is all about.

I want to shout from a global rooftop to warn all recipients about these kinds of messages. What looks to be manna from heaven will probably lead to identity-theft hell.

Posted on August 05, 2005 at 09:10 AM