Scams can be beat with common sense

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, February 28, 2009

I don’t think I ever knew how many long lost rich relatives I had or could have even guessed that so many people would find me so trustworthy they make me the steward of their millions.

And I never would have dreamed that I would win the European Lottery, not once, but several times in one month. Nevermind the fact that I didn’t actually play any lotteries. But it sure is nice to know I won.

Plus I have all these friends sending me enough e-cards to make a Hallmark store proud.

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Anyone who uses e-mail regularly can relate to these scenarios and dozens more like them.

If the U.S. Postal Service’s unofficial motto is “rain, snow or shine,” electronic mail should have something like “delivering all the junk, all the time.”

Don’t get me wrong. E-mail is great and has truly revolutionized how we do business, how we communicate and how we exchange information. But the “spam” as it is called can be exhausting. I don’t like the “meat” of the same name and don’t like the junk e-mails that this refers to.

Even the best junk mail filters often fail to stop this stop, so it seems inevitable that my inbox will be filled with people wanting to sell me enough English bulldogs to start a small herd or offering medicines to address every need.

But, you know what scares me the most? The fact that someone actually falls for these scams.

If not, we wouldn’t keep seeing them. And the beauty and the horror of e-mail is that you can send hundreds and hundreds of messages in the matter of seconds.

So if even one person a day responds, that will be worth it to these scammers.

Hopefully, as more and more people begin to use the World Wide Web as integral part of thier lives, more people will realize how to determine the difference between pictures of Aunt Betty and Naughty betty.

The Internet and e-mail has revolutionized our world even if it has opened some doors we wish would have stayed closed.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at