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Letters to the Editor

Tips for spotting email scams

The scam you wrote about has been going on for at least the past five to eight years. My guess is that most of the scammers are from Nigeria. The companies mentioned are always legitimate. However, these guys (or gals) have no connection to the company.

My recommendation? Don’t check out the companies at all. They are almost certainly legitimate. That’s part of the scam – they do a bit of homework before mass mailing their emails. At most, right-click on “message options” to see if the email looks like it really came from the company identified. In most cases it won’t.

If you feel obliged to call after taking this step, and they say they are from a company in the U.K., listen to their accent and use of English. If they don’t sound right, forget it. If you go this far and are still not certain, ask them how they found you. If they don’t mention a referral source or other information which sounds legitimate, “fuggedaboutit.” If they still send you a check and you haven’t signed them up, rip it up and put it in the trash.

If you ignore everything above and send them a fee agreement, you’ve just wasted a whole lot of time on something that has a 99.99 percent chance of being a scam: Don’t go there.

John M. Daley
San Jose