There’s some kind of – maybe not new – but new to me – scam that is affecting my email account. It started about 3 weeks or a month ago.
In my excitement over having my first grandbaby this summer, I ordered a bunch of stuff on the internet to put together a traveling photo studio, with props, a background and so forth, to use when taking pictures of my granddaughter when I go to visit her in Denver. I got the first batch of stuff, but it didn’t include the background, which apparently, is a print-on-demand item.
I was expecting to receive this item to be delivered on a certain day, as per an email I received from – I think – DHL Express. This company sent me an email and informed me that they would be delivering my item on a certain day, and they wanted me to confirm that I’d be home to receive it, and that they could leave it on the front porch or something, and that the delivery would not require my signature. I responded to their form indicating that I would be home that day and that they could leave it on the porch, and I’d be sure to get it. End of story, right? Wrong.
Now DHL Express is a real company, and this confirmation email was a real email. I contacted the company I purchased the background from, and they confirmed that the background was set to be delivered by DHL Express on the same day I had on my calendar for it. It was, in fact, delivered that day. I have no problem with any of this. What happened next, however ….
The next day I started getting similar emails from what looked like the same company – they had a picture and logo that was very similar to DHL Express, asking me to confirm again. I became suspicious of this, and that’s why I ended up contacting the company I purchased the item from.
At first, I must confess, I was pretty confused. My only thought was to simply delete the emails. But they kept coming and becoming more insistent. Then, I started getting other emails about other things that required my attention suddenly. I scrolled through the email looking for anything that might give me an indication of where these emails were coming from and what I could do about them. I deleted them for several days, but I kept getting more.
When I scrolled down to the bottom of the email, in very tiny print, it says this email is coming from an email list, and that if I want to unsubscribe, I can click on this tiny unsubscribe link. I clicked on the link. It takes me to a second page, where, in a large box, it asks me to either subscribe, or enroll, or complete an application or something. I’m sure plenty of people just click on this to try and stop the emails. I didn’t do this, but I don’t think it matters one way or the other. At the bottom of that box, and in very tiny lettering, the person trying to unsubscribe is told that they’ll be removed from the list, but it might take up to 10 days. 10 days? 10 days to be removed from a list I never subscribed to. In this age of electronics, in which everything happens instantaneously, I’m supposed to believe that they either run a program once every 10 days to remove emails from their list, or they possibly have someone who goes through and deletes them manually? Hahahah!
Anyway, at the very bottom of the email is some more tiny information you need to have your magnifying glass out for, and that is supposedly the address and location of the business sending the emails. I looked up the address from the first emails I received, and it was for a FedEx store in New Orleans, Louisiana. I’m really not sophisticated enough about these things to know whether in fact this is the real business that is sending these emails out, or whether it’s an offshore place that is spoofing this address. No clue, but one thought I wondered about, was if some businesses which aren’t doing so well, may sign up to send these emails out to build email lists that they can then sell to other people, who then do the same thing. Of course, this could be happening anywhere, either in the US or overseas, but the emails do have US addresses affiliated with them.
Here’s another thing I don’t “get” about this. I did, in fact, end up unsubscribing from the email list I didn’t sign up for. I was getting a few emails a day from this place in New Orleans, and those have stopped. Now I get the same type of emails from supposedly other addresses across the country, but the content is the same. Also, they don’t go into my spam or junk folder, no matter how many times I send them there. I’m guessing they just keep sending them from different email addresses that confound the email systems.
I’m also guessing that this is illegal, but I don’t really know. I think it’s just a way to collect email addresses and sell them to other scammers. Once you’re on the list, you never get off it.
Here’s a sample of some current emails in my personal in-box today:
iPhone 14 – ProMax* (I’m a winner)
iPhone 14 Pro Max (Youuu are a winner)
** Pending – Order *(1)**
**Costco – Surprise** **Second Attempt**
**Order-Pending** *You have won a*Club-Car Golf Cart**
**Congratulations!* **You WonI*
PAYPAL RE: You are our August winner!
VERIZON WINNER iPhone 14 – Shipment Pending
At the bottom of each email is the following information:
To stop these please go here or write to: an address in Valley Cottage, NY
And then in another box at the very bottom:
This offer is brought to you by 4Century Securities. To be removed from our list simply click here or write to us at: 4Century Securities, 1147 Brook Forest Avenue, #645, Shorewood, IL 60404.
I send these to my spam or junk folder every day, but they just keep coming the next day. I’ve heard that many free email services, now are charging for spam filtering, so if you’re willing to pay for that service, that you used to get for free, maybe you can have the spam filtered from your personal email box. I don’t know if this is true, but it certainly sounds like it could be. So, I’m not sure if the spam filters are no longer working or if the spammers have found ways to work around them, or both.
Of course, even speaking or writing about this makes one feel like a rube. Since my husband tells me he has now been receiving the same types of emails, I’m assuming that they got into my email account and pilfered my email list. Everyone I know, or possibly could have ever known, is probably now getting them.
Yes, I’ve heard rumblings and tales from others on the fringes of my consciousness who have encountered this, and they say you should never respond to these, or complete the forms, or try to unsubscribe, because by doing so, all you’re doing is getting on their list. All they’re trying to do is confirm that the email account is good so they can sell it to the next bunch of scammers. I’ve never encountered anything like this myself before and I’ve been using email for a couple of decades now.
Yes, it’s true I’m 66 years old and I may not be aware of whatever the current electronic scams are. But so far, my brain is still working. I don’t have dementia and I’m not an “at risk senior”. So yes, I’m writing all this with the awareness that some of my readers will simply shake their heads and think I’m an impressionable old lady who doesn’t know what’s going on, or that I’m somehow technologically or educationally deficient. It’s true, I don’t have a criminal mind. I don’t know how they do it, and I don’t want to know.
When my mom was living with me, (she was in her late 80’s at the time) scammers got a hold of her number and started calling her trying to get information from her. I told her when that happens, to simply give me the phone and I’ll get rid of them for her. Usually, they would hang up as soon as she said, “Let me have you speak with my daughter.” They knew they were speaking with an elderly person because she had one of those simple, old lady mobile phones. They somehow got the phone number list of people who have those types of phones. I don’t know how they do it, but they do.
Earlier this year, a hacker broke into my bank’s online banking platform. The hacker woke me up from my afternoon nap by calling me and told me he was calling from the bank’s security office because some hacker had tried to break into my account. I looked at the phone number of the incoming call and it was the main number of my bank. Then, he asked for my username. Not my password, he was very clear to say, but my username. I gave it to him. I shouldn’t have. He stole about $1,000 out of my account before I could make it to my local bank branch to report the issue, which I did right away, within 15 minutes of the call. He did the transfer of the money using Zelle. I no longer use Zelle because of this. My bank told me he had contacted several of their other clients and stolen money from their accounts as well. Since he used Zelle to make the transfer, the stolen money wasn’t insured by the FDIC. How convenient.
People who are good with technology and have criminal minds come up with new scams before we have the technology to protect the technology we currently have. Unless you think like a criminal, you are not likely to be able to avoid them all.