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Kelowna News

POULSEN: My inbox is very effing mad at me

Image Credit: Chuck Poulsen
April 16, 2015 - 8:06 AM

Last week’s column brought a lot of angry responses, although this time it wasn’t anything I said.

My email address, which was posted at the end of the column, was misused to send phishing emails to strangers.

There were 153 reply emails to me from these strangers. Although many were marked as “undeliverable,” a lot of people vented.

Everybody knows about road rage but this email rage over something I didn’t do was a first.

The “F” word was favoured as the primary adjective to help further describe my character and mental flaws, as well as drawing my sister into the discussion. I would have raged right back except I don’t have a sister.

Two others told me where I could stick my email box.

Many used capital letters and exclamation marks in case I didn’t realize they were REALLY, REALLY MAD!!

One person said I was being reported to the FBI; another turned me in to Scotland Yard with a further warning of an impending fine of £500,000.

Lsturchio@AOL offered a rhetorical question: “Do you want my bank account too so you can buy a new pair of shoes and look good when you go to hell?”

However, one woman did offer to meet for date. Women have always confused me.

My Shaw email account is a secondary address for me. My every-day email is Hotmail and it does a good job of sending scams to “junk.” From there, the scammer’s email address can be easily blocked for good, although when I see, I figure he’s got a million of ‘em. Still, it feels good to block them.

So there! For what little it’s worth.

Shaw said it had everything fixed up. But the next day, I got an email purporting to be from Shaw asking for my sign-in info. Someone had copied its sign-in page.
In other words, Shaw allowed in a scam email from someone posing as Shaw. Uh, Shaw?


Moving on, my telephone is now looked at with suspicion whenever it rings. There are some 30 calls a month offering mostly free vacations, and I’m hardly the only one getting them.
If the number isn’t recognizable, I let the call go to the answering machine. A message is never left because the calls start out with a computer voice talking on the other end, saying “press one” if you are the dufus we think you are.

The best known of these calls in Canada is probably the one from the serpents claiming to be WestJet; something like snakes on a plane?
WestJet communications manager Robin Farr states: “It’s just not as easy to stop anonymous scammers in Mexico as you might think, but by all means if you have an idea please let us know.”

They’re asking me what to do about it? Hope they don’t ask me how to fly a 737.

So far, WestJet has been able to trace the latest flurry of “free trips” to an address in a Cancun alley. The airline suggests calling the Canadian anti-fraud agency at 1-888-495-8501. It won’t do much good. They already know about it. Maybe they will ask you what to do about it. These calls have extended to mobile phones too.

Some wireless consumers are receiving calls from area codes that appear to be domestic, but are actually associated with international pay-per-call phone numbers. These calls disconnect after one ring, tempting people to call back. That’s when the “international premium” charges start. Calls usually come from a “spoofed” number; it’s probably an out of service number or even a working one that has been overtaken by the crooks’ computer software.

Unsuspecting recipients might answer it because it appears to be from their own area code. The scammers might even be using your number.

Mike Boychuk of Saskatoon told CBC News he tries to ignore the phoney calls, but then regular people started calling him.

"I started getting people phoning me... they'd say 'I'm just calling you back,' and I'd say 'who is this?'" Boychuk said.

Shaw tells me my number can be removed from all the listings it shows up on and my information will be blocked on the caller ID of people I’m phoning. I don’t know about that. If I’m not answering “no-ID” calls, maybe people won’t answer the ones I make.

For all I know, it’s risky to even be writing this.

— Chuck Poulsen can be reached at Just be careful.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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