No, I didn't win the Powerball jackpot, but I did get an email from someone named Donald Smith, who informed me he will soon transfer $1.5 million to my bank account. Get ready, Members Heritage!
More precisely, my new best friend Mr. Smith wrote: "Congratulations! Every necessary arrangement has been forwarded to Western Union for immediate transfer of your $1.5 million USD. Please could you kindly send full information such as your name, your phone number, your country to Western Union Department via email so that they will start send (sic) your fund to you immediately without any further delay."
Having not just fallen off the proverbial turnip truck, I put absolutely no stock in this proposition. First of all, I don't know any Donald Smith. I know Donald Trump, and although he is richer than rich, that's an entirely different story.
Secondly, today's email is the sixth such notification of pending riches I have received in less than two weeks. So I am either about to be as wealthy as the Duke of Dubai or every scammer this side of Saskatchewan has absconded with my email address.
Mr. Tang Kam Sun even emailed from the Commercial Bank of China to say he has a private investor who wants to share his financial estate in a long-term business venture that amazingly enough he wants to put under my supervision.
Obviously Mr. Sun has never shed light on my checkbook or bank account, and somehow has me confused with Thurston Howell III.
Still, he asks only that I provide all my identity info. And in turn, his client will invest $65 million in the venture of my choice while giving me a "generous management commission." In other words, free money! ... Like that ever happens.
But that's not even the best one. I have also heard from Reginald Cole, who says he's been diagnosed with esophageal cancer and has only hours to live (yet somehow can afford to take a few precious moments to email me because I'm so-o-o-o special). He's rich, you see, but admits that "it doesn't matter anymore."
So of all the people in the whole wide world, he has selected me to accept his 9 million pounds, telling me to keep half for myself and my time, and give the other 50 percent to the charity of my choice. Obviously, poor old Reginald Von Rich has no charity of choice that could use his money. Putting me in charge, he says, will now allow him "to depart this world peacefully."
Never knew I had such powers. Heal, Cubs' bullpen, heal dammit!
Other emails have urged me to update my Visa card account by sending all my ID info to some place in Canada (knew it was a scam when they didn't use a single "eh"), while another message promises a free Honda motorcycle if I "kindly provide" my credit card information and PIN number. Hmm, wonder what I'd have to do for a Harley?
Then there's dear old Maxwell John Tapsoba. He wants me to include eight -- count 'em, eight -- separate items of identification, upon which I will be chosen to "relocate" the sum of $10 million to my personal bank account as "an immense benefit to both of us." Boy, I'd say.
It appears the money once belonged to a shareholder from Mexico who died in a helicopter crash. And incredibly not another soul in Mexico could be trusted with his pile of pesos. So soon it will all be mine.
Maxwell not-so-smart ends his email by confiding in me with "I don't want anyone here in the bank to know of my involvement during this process." Gotcha covered, Maxwell. It will be our little secret.
Obviously, all of these deals have unfurled various red flags and are certainly nothing but scams. Somewhat creative yes, but scams nonetheless.
As a general rule, I don't respond to any email, phone call or letter that asks for my Social Security number, telephone number, PIN number, shoe size, mother's maiden name, golf handicap or SAT score.
Unless, of course, they tell me I may be a winner in the Publishers' Clearing House sweepstakes.