Thursday, November 20, 2008

Have You Checked Your Inbox?

Sweet Home, Oregon, really isn’t a very sweet place, at least for Janella Spears who is out $400,000 after falling for a well-known Internet scam. Yet, Mrs. Spears says she wasn’t a sucker or an easy mark.

Here’s the story. Janella Spears of Sweet Home says she simply became curious when she received an email promising her $20.5 million if she would only help out a long-lost relative identified as J.B. Spears with a little money up front.

Spears, who is a nursing administrator and CPR teacher, said she mortgaged the house and took a lien out on the family car, and ran through her husband’s retirement account. “The retirement he was dreaming of—cruising and going around and seeing America—is pretty much gone for him right now,” she said. She estimates it will take two years to clear the debt that accumulated in the more than two years she spent sending money to con artists.

Now, get this. Her family and bank officials told her it was all a scam, she said, and begged her to stop, but she persisted because she became obsessed with getting paid.

The scheme is often called the “Nigerian scam” and it’s familiar to many people with email accounts. It still exists and it still works.

Spears first sent $100 through an untraceable wire service as directed by the scammers. Then, more multimillion dollar promises followed so long as she sent more money. The scammers sent Spears official-looking documents and certificates from the Bank of Nigeria and the United Nations. President Bush and FBI Director Robert Mueller were also involved, the emails said, and needed her help.

They sent official-looking documents and certificates from the Bank of Nigeria and even from the United Nations, saying her payment was “guaranteed.”

But it wasn’t and now Spears is paying the price for her costly lesson.

First of all folks, if you have an extra $400,000 that you can get your hands on, just go ahead and send it to me. You’ve got as much chance of receiving $20 million from me as you do from a long lost friend or relative in Nigeria! Just send it my way, I’ll make sure it goes to a good use. Trust me. I promise. I mean it. I really do. Honest.

Family told her to stop. Friends told her to stop. Bank officials told her to stop. But, she couldn’t. She wouldn’t stop. She had to get rich. She had to get something grand for something little. A huge return on a “small” investment.

I’ll tell you what. The next time I get an email telling me that President Bush or FBI Director Mueller needs my help or I get a letter from the United Nations, I’ll know just what to do with it! Trash it. I won’t think about it. I won’t ponder it. I won’t count my treasure. The email or the letter will go right where it belongs. Either in the delete file or trash can.

Oh, I think I hear my inbox dinging. Could it be from a rich relative overseas?


  1. Thats incrediably sad. What was she thinking?

    I recently had a SIL tell me she was thinking about signing up for "lost monies" left in Europe. They are going through bankruptcy with this economic decline and she was having a "desperate" moment. I begged her not to as things could very much get worse. She may not have a dollar to spare but she still had her own identity, her husband still had his, the children still had theirs. I PRAY she did the right thing. I never dare to ask. So I PRAY!!!

  2. Make the check out to Heidi L. Reed. E-mail me and I'll send you an official looking e-mail that officially guarantees me that I'll receive your check. Once it clears the bank, I'll send you another official looking e-mail explaining what you should do next. Ok? Good deal!

    Heidi L. Reed
    Officially official to all officials

  3. Hmmm... when you were mentioning all the people that pleaded her to stop and she kept on truckin, I remembered David - he had the red flag moments with the Bathsheeba incedent and chose to ignore for his own pursuits.

    If only desperate people pursued the Bible with the energy they pursue the get-rich-quick industry...

  4. Sounds like greed is the common denominator in all these email scams.

    I led a scammer on for a long time. I pretended to be an old man that wasn't familiar with the use of these new fangled computers. It went on for about 3 months before he got mad and quit emailing me. A week later, I sent him an email and told him what a bad thing I had done that I was really only a 14 year girl....

    Many of them are addressed such and such number, Rue des Martyrs, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. I led another one on and finally told them to call me that I live right there in Abidjan and can meet them at the very bank they supposedly work at. They quit emailing me for some reason.

    I can't stand scammers....

  5. sounds like you did all you could do...however, greed has a way of blinding, as it did with this woman...sometimes, people never seem to learn!

  6. Heidi...I spoke up first! Tell you what...send it to me, and Heidi and I will share it with families who could use it--our own...

  7. Will...sure seems that some people work and work the system, trying to get rarely do those things work...except for the person who started the scheme! They get very rich from all of those who are naive enough to send them the money...

  8. Rick...I love it! I absolutely love it...with your background, you could pull this off without laughing or blinking!

    Do you mind if I forward a couple of telemarketers to you? I'd love to hear how you would handle them!

  9. Mrs. V., don't encourage Rick too much! It'll go to his head!

  10. I remember getting these. My first look was "what in the world is this?" It was disgusting. I remember trying to sell a truck and I received emails about "my boss is away and authorized me to buy this for him. Blah blah blah." These people know how to tap into the basic problem: greed. This lady needs help and I hope she gets it. Meanwhile...I wonder what her husband is now doing??

  11. Steve,

    DO NOT SEND TELEMARKETERS MY WAY!!! "Vengence is mine." sayeth the Lord. But on this, I'm sure he'd let ME get even!


    Thank you. Thank you very much.

    I posted about this on my blog once:

  12. The only funny thing about this story is, "Mrs. Spears says she wasn’t a sucker..." LOL, right.


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