International lottery scam crops up on the Web

By Tom DiFrancesca

Well, it looks like I won’t be writing this column much longer.
It appears that I have just won a little less than a million dollars, can you believe it?
I mean, with all that money, I’ll just be too busy livin’ it up with the rich and the famous to write this column.
No, I haven’t “lost it.” I really did recently receive an e-mail telling me that I’ve won all of that money, from the International Lottery — and all I have to do, is give them my bank account number and authorize them to withdraw 3 percent of the total that I’ve won, in advance.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?
I mean, what person in their right mind wouldn’t just jump on an offer like that. Heck, I’ll even sign the “winner’s agreement” without reading all of the fine print. The fine print that states that the International Lottery folks can actually withdraw whatever amount they want from my account — and, that the entire amount of my winnings is to be donated to the charity of its (International Lottery) choice.
This scam ranks (and, I mean, it’s very rank) right up there with the infamous Nigerian scam. If you will just jump on over to:
www.freemaninstitute.com/419lottery.htm
you can learn more about this newest endeavor to empty the pockets (or bank accounts) of unsuspecting Internet users.
– It seems as if this past week or so, I have run into a number of people who recently upgraded their computers to Windows XP, and most of them aren’t real happy.
One of the primary complaints is that they no longer can access their folders within Outlook Express. I don’t know the “why” of the problem, but I have found an easy solution. Just go to:
www.updatexp.com/tip21.html
and you’ll be informed of the resolution.
– I don’t gamble normally, but I’m willing to bet that just about every one of my readers has received an e-mail — within the past few months — about gas stations and cell phones. You know, the message sounds like a doomsday alert and gives some gruesome examples of what happens when folks try to talk on their cell phones and pump gas at the same time.
Believe it or not, it’s just another urban legend.
www.wired.com/news/wireless/0,1382,58188,00.html
is the URL for an article from “Wired,” a popular electronics/computer magazine (I subscribe to it myself), that totally debunks the hoax. If that article isn’t proof enough for you, just go to the Petroleum Institute’s Web site at:
www.pei.org/faq/static.htm
It’s interesting to learn, though, that static electricity, in rare cases, can cause an explosion, but cellular telephones do not emit static.
– Finally, I would be remiss to not mention Bob Hope. This man gave a lot of hope to many a weary soldier, and he traveled to them to offer his encouragement and comic sense.
National Public Radio produced a nice special to celebrate Hope’s 100th birthday a few months ago. You can listen to that special over the Internet by going to:
www.npr.org
By the way, I plan on continuing this column — rich or poor.
Tom DiFrancesca III is a freelance columnist and a resident of Clovis. His e-mail address is: tomdifran@ureach.com