You are indeed very fortunate readers. Why? It isn’t often that you get to read the words of a multimillionaire in your local newspaper. According to a number of emails and phone calls I’ve received over the past few months, quite a number of organizations have been trying to track me down so they can give me the money.
No, really! The first communique was an email from a concerned Nigerian prince. It seems someone in his family was recently killed in a car crash there, and after researching the last will and testament of the deceased, the prince identified me as the sole recipient of the family fortune, estimated to be in excess of $6,845,632. The email went on to say that all taxes on the estate have been paid, and all that is necessary is that I contact them and provide a little information so they know where to send my check. And to think I didn’t even know anyone from Nigeria. Well, my head was still reeling from this good fortune when a few days later I answered my telephone and learned that the Award Distribution Center of America had been trying to contact me for days because I had won in excess of $300,000 in prizes.
I began to consider the color I preferred when I’d order my new Ferrari 488. Italian Red sends such an obvious message, don’t you think? “Arrest me now, I must be speeding!” No, I think a more conservative shade of British Racing Green might be more appropriate — so subtle, so dignified. But the Ferrari will have to wait until I return from my six-month vacation in Costa Rica at my favorite all-inclusive resort. Or should I just pull the trigger on buying that beachfront property in the Cayman Islands? What to do? Who knew there was so much stress in spending one’s fortune? I’d been informed in a bulk-rate mail advertisement last week that I’d already won a brand-new GT-350 Mustang, but keeping the Mustang parked next to the Ferrari is just so jejune.
Despite all this good news, I would soon learn that there were a few flies in the ointment. I got a call from Apple last week, telling me that my computer had a serious virus and was compromising my financial security. This certainly raised my anxiety level. Computer viruses are so common these days. I am so glad they warned me and could provide, for a certain fee, steps to mitigate the virus and restore all my files, and ensure my future security. It did occur to me later that I have never owned any Apple computer product. I am a PC guy, you see. That anxiety was only increased when another phone call, this time from Microsoft, advised me that they had been receiving serious error messages from my computer. I was so embarrassed, to say the least. They asked if I realized how many other people had been affected by my computer error. Curiously, just like Apple, Microsoft could, for a small fee, solve the error situation. I had no idea I was such a menace to the online world. It’s a good thing they called.
Not long after the computer situation, I got an ominous message over the phone from the IRS. A warrant had been issued for my arrest because of income tax fraud! I had only a few days to contact the phone number given before Maryland state troopers would arrive at my door and serve the arrest warrant. Darn it! I knew I shouldn’t have done my own taxes last year. Not three days go by, and I answered the phone to learn that my roof had been inspected by an independent field agent, and found to be severely in need of replacement. So, when rain came this spring, the ensuing damage would run into the thousands. Can you imagine how upsetting this news was — just after having replaced my roof last spring? Wow! If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.
Surely you know by now that I write this little epistle tongue-in-cheek. Sadly, I have actually received such emails and the like. The latest trend seems to be the organizations that claim to be my bank, advising me that unless I provide them with my login account name and password, they will close the account forthwith. Such emails are easy to detect; just check the “from” portion of the message. In virtually every case, the “sender’s” email address has nothing to do with the banking institution, a clear sign that the missive is bogus.
It’s a shame that all of us, even those who only tiptoe through the waters of technology, need to be suspicious of such ridiculous messages. If I ruled the world, these charlatans would be condemned to answer robocalls, fraudulent emails and the like, 24/7, for all eternity. Besides, I’m not sure the Ferrari and Mustang will even fit in my driveway, anyway.
Steve Lloyd writes from Clover Hill and may be reached at email@example.com.