A computer in every Sandia Pueblo household
On July 24, the Pueblo of Sandia leadership embarked on a community initiative to provide a computer for every household within the reservation. Earlier this year, the Sandia Tribal Council appropriated gaming revenues for the purchase of the computers.
E-mail scam alert!
—Gary W. Priester
You can tell when the economy is bad by the number of scams that seek to separate honest people from their hard-earned money. There are a few going around right now that are worth identifying.
In the past month, I have received e-mail messages from Earthlink.net and PayPal (a Web-based service that lets you accept credit card purchases from a Web site) informing me that due to a computer glitch it is important that I go to a link in the message and reenter my account information. Interference with my service was offered as an incentive to do this quickly. Both links go to pages that are identical to those found on the real Web sites and even have links to other pages on the real sites. What they are asking for, along with the usual name and address information, is your secret password and the credit card you use. In either of these two cases, the credit card information and password submitted will probably be used to make unauthorized purchases.
Reputable companies do not ask you to send credit card information in this manner. You should always check with the company by phone to verify that they indeed sent out the request.
The other scam—and I get so many of these a week, it is almost a joke, were it not for the fact that I know some people are falling for this—is the request for Urgent Assistance. The messages begin with a friendly greeting and an apology for contacting you with assurances that they got your name from a trusted source. An introduction follows revealing they are the son, father, wife, daughter, or banker for some high-ranking person, doctor, government official, usually, but not always, in Nigeria.
The sad story unfolds that due to the murder, overthrow, incarceration of some famous member of the government, they are now at risk of having a large sum of money impounded by evil forces within the country.
They generously offer you a large sum of money (thirty percent of $38 million from one typical message) if they can deposit these funds in your bank account until such as time as they can transfer them to a secure bank elsewhere. They conclude by asking you to contact them for more instructions.
We are all smart enough not to fall for this scam. All it takes is one naive person to make it worthwhile to the hundreds of persons sending these desperate offers of generosity. Because of the never-ending variety of these messages, I have to wonder if they are not coming from a creative writing course in some prison! They spam these messages out—sometimes in the millions—to e-mail addresses they purchase, hoping to find the one gullible person who wants to get rich quick. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
There are an equal number of nasty virus-infected messages making the rounds that activate when you open the message. Some of the more common of these have as subject lines Re: Movie, Re: Application, Re: Document, Worm Klez E Immunity, A Good Tool, A Fun Game, and more. An intriguing one says Japanese Girl vs. Playboy. Who could resist that? Another insidious virus-infected message is Returned Mail by Mailer Daemon. This looks like a user-not-found returned message but in fact also contains a nasty virus.
Delete these! Do not open them! Even if you know the person who sent the message. Many viruses use real e-mail addresses found in mailboxes of people who have inadvertently had their computer infected. When in doubt, delete. You can always contact the person who sent you the suspect message and ask if their message was legit.
Finally, and I cannot stress this enough, have virus protection on your computer, and update the virus-definition files (DAT) once every week or two weeks. New viruses appear every day.