Email scams

You hear about them on the news once in a while - on a slow news day - but it's not because there aren't people out there trying their very best to steal from you. What's most often the case is that the defrauded are simply too embarrassed to admit that they've been the victim. If someone you don't know writes to you wanting you to help move money for them - whether they claim to be a soldier in Afghanistan or a relative of a deceased Mason, don't bite! There are several email scams that regularly make the rounds. We'll try to capture some of the most egregious here.

Don't believe it for a moment! It's a FRAUD.

I could go on and on about how to spot e-mail fraud or I could explain in detail that there's simply no rational reason that someone offering to give you millions of dollars/pounds/etc. without the vaguest clue as to who you are or what you do - even though they say they do. The blatantly obvious clue as to its fraudulent purpose is SO plain to see at the start: they want YOU to send THEM personal information and/or money!

Wake up, folks: if someone has millions to give you, why do they need a couple of hundred dollars to open an account or 'process' anything? Don't you think that they might be able to handle that also?

I'm stuck in London. HELP ME!!!

We'll bet you didn't know your Brother Mason went to London and had been robbed, did you? Well, sitting comfortably at his house, neither did he - but you've just gotten a request to wire him money. Naturally you want to leap to assist but be careful: this too is a fraud! In early 2010, several Masons found that their e-mail address books had been hacked and all of their friends were learning that the trip to London they had taken had now left them stranded. It sounded SO real - but a quick phone call to the Brother's house might reveal something quite different.

Bet you didn't know Brother Smith had a laptop - or that he would remember your e-mail address - or that he wouldn't think to PHONE you if he was stuck and needed help. The Embassy will always help ANYONE who's stranded like this to make appropriate arrangements: there's no need to use e-mail.

As time goes on, there will be more and different approaches - and because of the close ties of Brotherhood that Freemasons have with one another, it's an easy target for e-mail scammers. If you have any questions, I'd encourage you to contact your Grand Lodge webmaster for advice. Often they'll have multiple e-mail accounts and will have gotten these scary messages first - and can help separate truth from reality.

And what about scholarships?

People don't hand out free money - using Yahoo e-mail accounts - that YOU have to pay for before you get. Be realistic and don't be a victim of fraud! See this page for an example of scholarship fraud using e-mails and Freemasonry's name!

Yahoos on Yahoo

Because Google/Gmail won't let people from certain countries get gmail accounts, Hotmail and Yahoo are the patsies of choice. Here's an example of an e-mail I received directly. One wonders, right off the bat, why a person uses the name Vaga if they're actually "salvation charles" or what "Calvary greetings" are and why they're being sent to "Undisclosed recipients". Read for yourself....

****************************************************************************

From: Juana Ya?ez Vega <salvationcharles@yahoo.com>
Subject: [SPAM] my dearest masonic brother
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2010 03:40:56 -0300

Brethren,
Calvary greetings. before telling my story, will you permit me to express to you my deepest gratitude for the fraternal assistance you have given my late dad. you will find your recompense in the honorable and prosperous position that Lodge is destined to hold, now that it has overcome its many difficulties.please brother i will like you to assist me with mutual benefit.my late dad is a masonic.since he died my family members wanted to kill me so that they will possessed all his property.they have size his sword,briefcase and regaling.but i refused to surrender my late father key box where he is keeping his foreign currency.please i will like you to open an account with foreign bank i will give you the website after signing some trust paper.please brother this money is my life and i hope you will not size it when the bank will credited the fund with your names.i will make you realize more and more the benefits of my late dad fraternity, and the grandeur of their Institution. It is by knowledge of the principles and causes of our human actions that the practice of a calm moral philosophy will become more familiar and more profitable to you; understood Freemasonry as the enlightened Rite of Memphis understands it??Brotherhood, Tolerance and Goodness towards all, and devotion to our ancient institution.please contact me with my direct email because my life is in danger salvationcharles@yahoo.com

yours brother

salvation charles

*****************************************************************

Does this REALLY sound legitimate? Are you THAT gullible?

Family members threatening to kill this person? Did he take an extra drumstick last holiday? He's going to give you a website after you open an account? Huh? Signing a trust paper? Rite of Memphis? You've never even heard of that, have you? How many warning horns do you need to be sounding simultaneously?

Appealing to "another Mason"

In November, 2013, we received four emails, all identical, from four completely different addresses. They began,  "Dear Hiram". Although sometimes Masons might refer to one another in this way, had it been even a single message, that it was a scam should have been obvious:

Hello, Hiram,

My name is Richard Davison and my father was a Worshipful Master in our Local lodge.

I never really knew much about his before his death as I met him at a later part of my age.

He Willed some funds to me in his Wall Street Bank and I have been trying to claim this funds ever since his death.

The sum is about $ 5 Million.

His lawyer is making things very difficult for me.

I need your advice and assistance.

With kind regards,

Richard Davison

Regrettably, there were probably a couple of well-meaning Masons who replied, thus subjecting themselves to further scam mailings and, possibly, becoming involved so as to actually lose money. Don't accept such things at face value. If this were legitimate, why would someone send such a thing to you - a complete stranger - instead of dealing with Masons locally? No, it's just plain foolish - and you should hit the delete button immediately!

If you've been approached by similar frauds, send me a copy of what you've received. I'll add them here!

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