Is there a new scam going around?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/08/14 15:06 -04:00, original URI:

In the past few weeks, I have had messages coming to me from many different sources (my email addresses, my home phone number, the contact link on this site, etc.).

Each message is different, but each has one thing in common with the others: someone claiming to know me from some time in the past is either

I have not answered any of them yet -- none of them are ringing any bells and some can't be right since they refer to living in places I have never visited.

Is there some new scam or identity theft thing going on?

# Rosyna on 14 Aug 2005 3:57 PM:

It could just be that someone with the same name as you appeared in a newspaper or other article and that person had something bad happen to them. The readers could have just googled the name and then called or emailed you wanting more info.

It doesn't have to be malicious at heart.

# Chris on 14 Aug 2005 5:16 PM:

I am not aware of such a scam; but I would be suspicious.

# Max Nokhrin on 14 Aug 2005 5:35 PM:

I wish I was popular enough to have emails from complete strangers claiming they know me... hehe :) Probably Rosyna is right. I've not yet heard of this reported anywhere.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 14 Aug 2005 6:23 PM:

Yeah, I would not hsve thought anything about it except it just kept happening in a short period of time. It does not seem to have malicious overtones, so hopefully they are safe. :-)

# TAG on 14 Aug 2005 6:41 PM:

Are you realy Michael Kaplan ?
Have you ever been on Mars ?
I think we are from same colony.
Michael I know relocated to Earth about 20 marsian years (36 local one) ago and was able to understand a lot of different dialects people talk each other.

Contact me if you are the one !

# Michael S. Kaplan on 14 Aug 2005 6:52 PM:

Well, that is the most original one so far, TAG! :-)

# Anmont on 14 Aug 2005 11:50 PM:

I created an e-mail account specifically for the WWPC in Minneapolis. I have received such mails (not from the same person) with the same idea.
"Hello (my name) I recently visited (my country) and found your e-mail in my contact list.
I do not recall who you are?
I have had more than one, and suspect it is some sort of fishing scam.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 15 Aug 2005 2:05 PM:

The latest --

Laura asks "...and the weirder thing is...I think I may know you! Were you considering grad school in linguistics at Berkeley a few years back by chance?"

milowg asks "I probably am totally making this up, but are you from Fair Lawn, NJ? I think I may have been on the swim team with you there."

It never stops! :-)

# Ivan on 17 Aug 2005 1:28 PM:

Well, I've got quite a few emails asking me where the money is (?!?), and if you use ICQ chances are someone will ask you sooner or later if you'll be going to Sarah's party. In short these emails are most probably sent by spammers to check your address is valid, by simply sending you an email that will most likely get through spam filters, and trigger a return receipt. There is a small chance someone is targeting you for some reason, the obvious thing to do is have a look at the headers and see if they're forged

# Ranjit on 5 Nov 2005 6:05 PM:

I received the following email. I followed up and I found they want me to send money for a courier in order to send me the money. Is this a genuine MIcrosoft deal or is it a scam. Does anyone know. Regards, Ranjit (snipped typical lottery scam email)

# Michael S. Kaplan on 5 Nov 2005 6:25 PM:

Ranjit, it is a scam. It has nothing to do with Microsoft whatsoever.

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