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Phone call from

It's a quiet Tuesday afternoon in a Dutch village, a fine spring day reserved for composing and homework. My phone rings. An automated answering machine transfers me to a guy with a strong American accent.

"Congratulations! You have won a free holiday!"

Is this a joke to wake me from my music? What did I do to deserve this, I thought at first. I have not entered into a competition. Wait! How did he get my phone number?

"First I have to verify your details to make sure you qualify. Will you be able to take a holiday in the next 12 to 24 months? What is your phone number?"

Still puzzled, I naively gave him the number I was speaking from.

With that number, he was able to get my full address. He asked me if it was correct. Next he asked if I was single or married and over 21 years of age. I asked why.

"So I can verify whether you qualify for the reward."

"What reward?"

"Do you use credit cards to book your travels? If so, then you have won a reward."

"But I know which airmiles I've signed up for, and they never ring me if I've won anything."

"This is not airmiles, mam. We are Now, which credit card do you use when you book for travel?"

"I've never heard of you. How do I know who you are? Are you sure I'm not paying for this call?"

"I can wait while you check out our website, m'am. Don't worry. We are paying for this call. Here is our toll-free number 0800 023 4716. Call us. It's free. Now, can you give me the three digits on the back of your credit card?"

"No. Sorry. I don't give that out. I don't know who you are."

"Then I won't be able to verify if you qualify to receive the reward."

Something was funny. I have never taken a call like this before. From Texas. Carrollton, Texas, near Dallas, he said. His name was Anthony Burks. I visited which was a small website with the essential ABOUT US and CONTACT US pages. But something was still odd. I googled and found Richard Boakes' website.

In Boakes' "Ameri-scam" article dated 23 March 2006 was in the comments section. This marketing scam from America has reached Europe. I was a target today. You might be next! Watch out!

28 March 2006

Related links:
Ameri-who - how it began
Ameri-scam - how it works
Internet Fraude in Dutch
Victim of spam - whereas spams interrupt your train of thought, take up space in your mailbox, scam takes your money if you are gullible enough.
Sieving thru spam and virus alerts - thankfully, unlike spam, scam does not occur everyday or several times a day.
Piano dilemma - my experience with internet scam when I was selling my grand piano
Credit card fraud --- from scambusters
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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page. See her publication list for more.
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