Another day, another dollar... you sit down at your PC, flick the switch
and wait for it to boot up.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
You then click the icon that will launch you onto the Internet and hear the
familiar sound of your modem dialing -- followed briefly by a noise that
can best be described as an angry cat swimming underwater as your modem
talks to your ISP.
The modem falls silent, your computer logs onto the network and your email
Let's see -- one "FAST CA$H", two "FREE CABLE TV DECODER" messages, a couple
from that mailing list you're subscribed to and... what's this -- "Your Biography?"
You open the email and it says:
Congratulations, your have been recommended to the National
Biographical Foundation for inclusion in the 2002 edition of
the America's Top One Thousand.*
Inclusion is absolutely free.
Please help us record your achievements, by submitting your
application without delay. Http://www.nationalBios.org
Michael N. Mathews
Wow! How about that -- someone thinks YOU are important enough
to have your biography included in a list of America's Top 1000 people!
But hang on -- you live in New Zealand -- what's the guts?
Don't worry -- a visit to the site will reassure you and explain that:
"The world has become a small place. We do include many international biographies."
Wow -- so it's all on -- you're going to be famous right?
Oh please... I certainly hope nobody has been caught out by this scam.
Let's take a closer look at that email. Although it purports to come from Mr
Michael N Mathews from the National Biographical Foundation -- the sender's
email address is firstname.lastname@example.org How odd that a US-based
organisation with its own domain name would use a Swedish email address!
What's even more interesting is that the email headers betray the fact that
it was sent from what appears to be an open mailserver in Hungary. Gosh, you'd
think that such a prestigious "Foundation" would have a mailserver of their own
The final piece of evidence is the address to which the email was sent -- one
which I published on a webpage about three years ago and which was not linked
to me (or any other individual) -- clearly they've used a spam-list for this
It takes little more than a casual examination of the facts to uncover that
this is a scam -- designed to simply confirm your email address and trick
you into providing the addresses of friends and family through the
Perhaps there really is a book associated with this scam -- odds are that
anyone who responds to this email is probably also stupid enough to fork out
money for a book with their name in it.
Let's face it, put your ego aside and ask yourself -- how credible is any
book that would list you (or me) as one of the top 1000 people in the USA?
I notice a very clever little disclaimer in the smallest font-size supported
by plain HTM which says: "Publication conditioned on sale of sufficient books."
If you receive one of these emails -- delete it -- and do not under any
circumstances nominate anyone, not even the NZ DMA, however
deserving they might be as a result of their enlightened attitude to email
Unfortunately I suspect that thousands of people have responded to this
little ploy that preys on their vanity.
As they say about fools -- there's one logging on every minute :-)
Wanna Buy My Shares In 7am.com?
I currently hold around 30% of the shares in
7am.com -- but I'm looking
to sell them to raise some cash for a new venture.
It's probably very difficult to assign a value to these shares (they're
not listed of course) but I'm realistic and open to offers.
Other 7am.com shareholders will have pre-emptive rights so acceptance of
any offer will be contingent on this.
Contact me if you're interested.
Free Tech/Net News
Looking for some free Tech/Net news for your website from 7amNews/ShockHorrorProbe?
The headlines and stories you see in the reddish box on this page are now available
for others to place on their own website -- free of charge. What's more,
for a limited introductory period, you can include the entire story within
your own pages so that people don't leave your site when they click on a headline.
Check out this page
for more information. Note -- this is in Beta test at this stage so please
report any problems.
Add Aardvark To Your Own Website!
Got a moment? Want a little extra fresh content for your own website or
Just add a
to your pages and you can get
a free summary of Aardvark's daily commentary -- automatically updated
each and every week-day.
Aardvark also makes a summary of this daily column available via XML using
the RSS format. More details can be found
Contact me if you decide to use either of these feeds and
have any problems.
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