I've been on the Internet since the mid-'90s, back when you actually had to work to find porn -- or so I hear -- and I thought I'd seen every kind of scam.
But waiting for me in my email Thursday morning was a con I'd never run across before. Here it is in its entirety:
From: Mr. Michael Morgan
Subject: URGENT CONFIRMATION
United Nation Office
United Kingdon England
Have you Receive your Contract/ Inheritance payment from the Debts settlement office?
Based on the United Nations Protocol's Blue Book "Permanent Missions to the United NationsNo. 295", April 2006 Last updated with ST/SG/SER.A/295/Add.5 ----
As you can see, there's no link to click on that will take you to a phishing page where you're supposed to give up personal and financial information in order to collect your mysterious inheritance money.
I guess suckers are supposed to reply to the email with a, "Why no, I haven't yet received my Contract/Inheritance payment from the Debts settlement office. Please tell me more! Yours Sincere, Pending U.N. Email Scam Victim"
Internet swindles such as this and the famous Nigerian 419 con are so blatantly transparent that one can hardly believe a single person could fall for them. Yet people do. This unfortunate Oregon woman lost $400,000 to Nigerian scammers, and she's hardly alone.
The real United Nations (I think) has an online fraud alert informing people that, "The United Nations does not offer prizes, awards, funds, certificates, scholarships or conduct lotteries through e-mail, mail or fax."
It's just as well. Sometimes the scammers actually get their marks to hop on a plane and fly to some third-world country to complete the transaction. And try as I might, I can't find "United Kingdon" anywhere on a world map.