Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spam or confused people?

In the past two months, I've gotten three rather weird e-mails. Or at least, they're weird to me because they're from people I don't know about topics that I know nothing about. One was a confirmation of my application to a Master's degree program at a university in England, another was the head of a charity talking about a diamond ring I had agreed to donate, and today, someone from the navy asking for clarification on something so technical I had not a clue what he was talking about.

Now I know my name isn't unique. And I was lucky enough to get in on Gmail early enough that my username is just my name, with no numbers after it, so if someone wanted to e-mail someone with my name and forgot to add whatever modifiers they had to put on their e-mail address, they would get me instead. Last year, for instance, I got several e-mails meant for someone with my name who lives in New Zealand (the most annoying of which was an automated party invitation, which meant I kept getting automatically e-mailed everytime someone responded, even after I politely told them they had the wrong person).

It just feels weird to get so many of these in so short of a time. I'm pretty sure the one from the university was legitimate, because I looked up the person who sent the e-mail and they were on the university website. And I'm inclined to think the one today was also legitimate because the subject was so technical that I can't possibly see how they could lead into asking me for money.

But the "agreed to donate a diamond ring" e-mail feels suspicious. If it's spam or a scam, I don't know what they would hope to accomplish from it because I don't have a diamond ring, never promised one to anyone and can't be guilted in to giving anyone money in lieu of my nonexistent diamond ring. But then, you would never think people would travel to Nigeria in search of a nonexistent fortune either. Does this sound like a scam anyone's heard of?

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