Lottery Winnings

No, I’ve not won the lottery. Gotta buy a ticket first and, frankly, I’d rather put my dollar with the others in the Mason jar out in the back yard. Dang, I told y’all where it was and now I gotta move it.

Anyway, this post is more about Spam than anything else. That and gullibility.

I use Mozilla’s Thunderbird for my email accounts. The junk/spam filter on it is pretty good and it learns quickly. I set up other message filters to get rid of the obvious ones. If the spam filter thinks it has a spam, it sends it to the Junk folder where I then can check it out and delete it. I have it set up so that anything I say is spam is sent directly to the trash folder which is emptied each time I close down Thunderbird.

I have an idea for a really good junk/spam filter: have a spell check built in. If the subject line contains a \ or ! in the middle of a word, chuck it out.

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of lottery emails. It’d be funny except I know people actually believe those things. So, here’s some hard facts: If you won a lottery in the Netherlands or somewhere in Africa, do you really think they’d let you know via email? Or if someone has umpteen thousands of dollars stuck in some sort of political shift and need your help with it, again, do you really think they’d contact you via email? Or would they, like, I dunno, go to an embassy?

Thunderbird has this column where if I click in it, the email is marked as Spam and away it goes. That way I don’t have to open the email and then hit delete. If your email program doesn’t have this kind of option, try to right click on the email and select delete from there. Opening an email from someone you don’t know or that you know is spam can cause some mean things to happen to 10 people you know. Okay, just kidding on that last bit.

Here’s some other random email advice:

– When the real PayPal sends out an email, they don’t have any links in it. Sometimes, for a real transaction, they will have a transaction number link, but that’ll be it. Why? Because spammers, crackers, virus, and malware folks love to use PayPal to scam folks. The real PayPal says things like: “go to our site,” without using a link. Good for them!
– In connection to the above, if you don’t know if you should trust the email, put your cursor over the link. Don’t click on it, just put the little arrow over it. Now, most email programs will then show you the actual URL of that link in the bottom of the window somewhere. Check to see if the URL is the same. Usually, it’s not.
– If a greeting card website sends you an email message and all it says is “a family member” sent you this card, don’t click the link. Legitimate notices of e-cards will say who it is from and often has a short message from them. If you get an e-card and don’t know who it is from, delete it. So for my friends and family: don’t send me e-cards. Yeah, some of them are cute and cool and excellent examples of the artistic uses of flash player, but, really, spend the freakin’ few cents and send me a real card, okay?
– Just ’cause Oprah says it is good don’t mean it is. And just because an unsolicited email says Oprah says it is good, really really means it isn’t good. Delete that.
– Do you really want to order a prescription medication from someone who can’t spell the name of that medication? I don’t care if it does make your man-part stand at attention for hours on end, if they can’t spell it, don’t buy it!
– Same goes for any other penis oriented emails. Do straight women really want big huge penises on their partners? Frankly, it sounds painful. I get more penis email than I do lottery emails. And I don’t do either one of them!

One more thing and then I’ll let you get back to whatever you were doing. Let’s say you get a really cute email from someone. It has cute pictures of puppies, babies, kittens, and any combination thereof. I admit, I am a sucker for those things, too. You decide to forward it to everyone you know because it is just so freakin’ cute. Fine. But, after hitting forward and before hitting Send, do a few simple things first. Take a look at that email. Now, how far do you have to scroll down before you get to the cute puppy? Even scrolling a pixel or two if too much. All that information space is usually taken up by the email addresses of all the others who also thought it was a dang cute puppy. Forward after forward after forward. You know, if you send it to me, I’m going to embarrass you something awful. ‘Cause I’m gonna hit Reply All and tell everyone you sent it to that I thank you for giving me more email addresses to sell to spammers! Not just the addresses of everyone you sent it to, but aaaallll those other email addresses, too! I’m gonna make a fortune! Seriously, I’d never do that but it is tempting. (I once tried to count them all and stopped counting at about 120 email addresses that was included in a single fwd-ed message) Delete all that gooble-goop at the top of the message. It’ll take but a second or two. Send the cute picture to everyone you know but use Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) instead of To or CC. This means that no one will know who else got the picture but it also means my email address remains with you and not your Cousin Phil, Uncle Ernie, and your college roomie from ’88. Over the years, I have seriously lost two “friends” because I kept hitting Reply All and thanking them for more email addresses to harvest. And, frankly, if the subject line has more than one Fwd in it, I’m not going to bother reading it anyway. So delete those, too. Don’t send me anything about chain letters or online petitions. My name at the bottom of the loooong list won’t mean crap ’cause it has to be a real signature to count in anything legitimate anyway.