When it rains email scams, it pours. The same is true for bogus voice mails, fake text messages, and phony faxes (in the ’90s).
Most of my current scammy voice mails are about expiring warranties. I’m a terrible target for this because I have no warranties. My email inbox now seems to be dominated by notices of renewal of my Norton anti-virus protection, something I also don’t have, though I think that’s the point: I’m supposed to see this notice that I’ve been charged for the renewal of something I don’t even use, and immediately contact them, giving them my banking information as well as my date of birth, social security number, and the name of my first pet (“Squeaky”) for good measure. This is one of about 85 of these I got just this week. I promise I didn’t make up the name in the “from” field:
From: Wilkogfkhbljv Dufluguduy (pronounced “Willie Duffy”)
Hello Precious Member,
We have successfully charged you $231.00 for the renewing of your new Norton Online Subscription.
*Charges will reflect in your account statement within next 24 to 48 hrs.
If you have any concerns or dispute or want to cancel your annual membership, then please
Reach out to us at the earliest @ +1 – (833) – (576) – (2206)
There’s a lot going on here. For starters, it’s true that I’m more likely to respond to an email that addresses me as “Precious Member,” so that’s good strategy, but why am I renewing a “new” Norton Online Subscription? Then there’s the asterisk footnote for a non-existent asterisk above. Last but not least, the eerie spacing of the phone number. And it goes on from there. At the bottom it says, “Call us now to cancel your subscription and claim a total of $231.00 instantly” (in bold type). Here’s where they really lost me. No company that has just auto-renewed something is going to advertise how quickly they’ll refund the money.
Most of us aren’t going to fall for these, but are you aware that these same Moldovan teenagers, or the 400-pound guy sitting on a bed, are now targeting people with an interest in bluegrass music? I guess we should take that as a compliment, just as we did when someone tried to impersonate Rhonda Vincent and steal thousands from an undiscerning fan. Our music is important enough to draw the attention of con artists.
Take a look at these three emails I came across in my spam folder:
From: Bujjndaight “Buddy” Plaghdtyersi
Dear Esteemed Friend,
We have processed your payment of $480 for your tickets for four (4) individual family people and camp site spacing for the upcoming bluegrass festival, “Bluegrass in a Very Nice Valley” in Maryland, USA, July 2-4, 2021.
We look forward to your gracious attendance. If you did not order these tickets, please contact us immediately for a full refund, because we just love refunding money: 1 —— —— 888 —— —— —— 42——3 —— —— —— 448 —— —— —— —— —— —— 6162
If no one answers, please leave all of your banking informations including account numbers, routing number, and date of birth, so we can refund you moneys in the quickest of manners.
Sincerely, Buddy Plaghdtyersi
Accounts Department Section
From: Charlie Monroe
Re: Invoice #1234567890
Dear Brilliant Sir or Madam,
We have renewed your annual membership to the Tri-State Bluegrass Society (TSBS) at the annual rate of $1890 (family rate). Thank you for your loyalties and faithfulness to the bluegrass music we love so very much.
*your account will be debited this amount today
If you are unhappy with the TSBS or no longer care for bluegrass music in the least bit, please call the number below at the earliest possible and we will process your immediate refund of all funds right away:
+7 498-695-456 (Houston)
Billing and Quick Refund Department
Last but not least, I was almost taken in by this until I remembered that Bluegrass Today is not subscriber-based:
From: Grythshieynmkoo Smith
Re: Your Expensive and Unexpected Renewal
Dear Exalted One,
We have processed your payment for the renewal of your subscription to Bluegrass Today in the amount of $965,000. Thank you for subscribing to this lovely service about all the things of bluegrass music of today.
If you feel that we have charged you in error, or you no longer wish for this glorious subscription, please contact us in your earliest time of convenience for you, and we will direct deposit $965,000 to your bank account immediately right away today.
Please be advised, though, that once your refund is processed, you will no longer receive the Bluegrass Today Daily Buzz in your inbox.
For an immediate and quickest refund: 1-833-976-4347
Sincerely, Rosa Lee McFall (aka Dan Tyminski)