The Calhoun County Gazette of Calhoun County Alabama presents local news, sports, and features of interest about the area. It is dedicated to the people of Calhoun County and to others who would like to know more about us and the great opportunities for travel, fun, and business in our region.
 Feature Story 
Don't Be A Terget!
The latest and greatest computer scam. Read on...
By Norman Morrison 



Un-Trustworthy Scam Mail
By Norman Morrison

     Calhoun Countians are pretty sophisticated. For example we know better than to purchase the first watermelon of the season. Likewise, when we're at a party, we never drink directly from the passed fruit jar without carefully wiping the top.
     If you have been computing for awhile, chances are excellent that you already know to veer away from emails from desperate Nigerians offering to cut you in on a piece of the nation's oil money.
     However, what do you do when you receive a mail purportedly from the bank informing you
that your account is screwed over and you only have one chance to fix it? Our advice is to delete and run!
     Below is a copy of just such a mail that GC received the other day.... Our commentary continues below...

Dear SunTrust Account Holder,

Recently there have been a large number of identity theft attempts tergeting SunTrust customers. In order to safeguard your account, we require you to confirm your banking details This process is mandatory, and if not completed in the nearest time your account will be subject to temporary suspension.

To securely confirm your SunTrust account details please go to:

(Editor: The scam url is left in for accuracy. Do not attempt to use it! In the original email, the actual embedded link, which does match the line below, spirits you off to the scam artist's website.)

*Because you are entering a secure area please allow 10-30 seconds for page to load*

Thank you for your patience.
SunTrust Care Service 

**Please Do Not Reply To This E-Mail As You Will Not Receive A Response** 

Copyright 2004 SunTrust Corp. All rights reserved.
SunTrust Bank Member FDIC (c) 2004 SunTrust Banks, Inc.

$$Targed ID838293727.secure_server.Location@SunTrust Online Service Center,Orlando, FL 32862$$


          SunTrust is, of course, aware of these mails, and devotes a page to them on their website.
         Criminals are, by definition, stupid. They depend upon the hope that you are even more stupid than them. Don't be! A dead giveaway, besides the fact that you got a mail like this in the first place, is the word, "terget." Whoever wrote this, whether from the prison computer, or from the Bangalore, India Internet Cafe obviously didn't have a dictionary handy. But don't depend on sepelling errors. The best way to protect yourself against internet mail scams is to always use a healthy dose of common sense. If you receive a mail eliciting personal details like this and have the least doubt, visit, call, or contact the company using verifiable information before replying. Always. They want to hear from you.

Here is another one for you...
Recently, a GC friend offered a car for sale and posted it on the internet. After some time he got a mail from a fellow who said that he needed the old car very badly. That was nice!
     However...the car wasn't that nice, and the supposed purchaser failed to say where he was from. Also he was writing from Yahoo mail, which in and of itself is not bad unless you are sending a questionable email in the first place like you maybe have something to hide.
     Ok, the friend followed up on the mail and after a couple of back and forths, he got this one: (Keep in mind that the actual selling price of the vehicle was well below $1000)

From: Sam Scozzaro <>

Subject: Important

Sorry for not contacting you on time,there is a situation which has just come up.I contacted my client in regards of the payment,which i instructed him to raise and mailed out to you.

My client is owing me a refund from a previouse transaction we had.The funds involved in the transaction was six thousand,five hundred dollars,i asked him to make out a check of three thousand dollars and mail it out to you,but he cliams is thier company pollicy to draw the whole amount on the cheque, since is a single transaction we had,and a double refund can't made for a single transaction.

So the whole amount has been written and about to be sent to you. Which i instructed him to stop,because i have to contact you on the situation before such an amount can be sent over to you.And if the check refund has to be cancelled,for telegraphic transfer ,it will take thier company two months period to refund the funds.

I refused because, i just can't allow such money to go to some one i have never might to trust.I took the decision to contact you to inform you of the sitaution which has just come up.

So,for time factor and for the transaction not to be delayed.I will prefer you confirm on this sitaution,if the whole amount have to made out to you my balance will be kept in safe hands untill pick-up and collecting of the remainig balance.I have nothing to worry about,i am ready to establish entrustment with you. If i will only be convinced my funds will be safe.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks & best rgards..



     The criminal, Semi-Literate Sam, who is obviously not from anywhere close, and uses British English spellings, made his move, which he had been working on since the first mail.
     The friend stopped the correspondence at this point. However, had he continued, my internet research indicates he may have received something like this bogus mail from another scammer to another victim which I found posted on another internet website as a public service. Note how similar they are....


Thanks for the reply, O.K I will buy it for $3500,infact i will like to buy this car immediately if you will accept a cashiers check, I can instruct my client presently in the USA who is owing me the sum of $9,200. I may now ask him to procure a cashiers check in your name for this amount and have it posted to you.But i must count on you to send my balance of the money back to me via a western union money transfer. I will then instruct my shipping agent to come over to your location in order to pick the car up for shipment.If this is OK please e-mail me now with your full name/address and Tel # so i may pass it on to my shipping agent and my client.

For the information of the title document of the vehicle and western union money transfer my full name and address is follows:-

Seun Bakare
23 Isolo Road
Mushin Lagos
Nigeria 23401

     If the friend had pursued the matter he would have indeed gotten a money order, bank draft, or certified check of some kind. It would have looked good and been as bogus as a lead nickel. If the bank accepted the check, the honest friend would have remitted the remaining balance to Sam who would have grabbed the money and run. Then, when the bank realized the check was bad, they would have demanded the friend to make good. Timing is everything, and the perverted scammer counts on human goodness and honesty to make his nefarious schemes work. In the end, in NO case would the certified whatsis EVER clear the bank. You hate to say these things, especially to the local guy we heard about who recently lost $5000 to some fictitious bank in England where he didn't even have a checking account...but IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.....

     In particular, this article is aimed at new computer users who haven't been tempered in the busy arena of internet scams. As President Reagan was often fond of telling the Russians... "Doveryay, no proveryay..." Trust but but verify... Actually, when it comes to helpful emails from sources unknown (even though they make trustful claims) it may be best to simply un-trust! Have all the fun, but be aware of friendly unknown e-mailers offering miraculous hair replacement. Don't get scalped! Laugh all the way to the DELETE button!






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