Computer Internet Hunts

Email spam, spoof, phishing - Can you spot the baloney?

Before you respond to one of these silly messages, carefully consider the credibility.

Your Great Aunt Olivia is a sweet old lady. You set up your old computer for her. She uses it to keep in touch with her far flung family via email. She shows you an email she received today. She is very excited about all the good things she can do with this fortune. She cannot get over the blessing this is for her.

Subject: Beloved,Reply.
Date: October 24, 2008 6:56:18 PM EDT
Reply-To: Return-Path: <>
Delivered-To: Delivered-To: CLUSTERHOST
Received: (qmail 1404 invoked from network); 25 Oct 2008 00:30:22 -0000
Received: from ([]) by (qmail-ldap-1.03) with QMQP; 25 Oct 2008 00:30:22 -0000
Received: (qmail 16088 invoked by uid 50005); 25 Oct 2008 00:30:22 -0000
Received: from by (envelope-from <>, uid 50002) with qmail-scanner-2.02 (clamdscan: 0.94/8447. spamassassin: 3.2.5. Clear:RC:0( Processed in 0.092754 secs); 25 Oct 2008 00:30:22 -0000
Received: from (HELO ([]) (envelope-sender <>) by (qmail-ldap-1.03) with SMTP for <>; 25 Oct 2008 00:30:22 -0000
Received: (qmail 31252 invoked by uid 507); 24 Oct 2008 17:56:18 -0500
Received: from localhost (HELO (bethfitz@ by with SMTP; 24 Oct 2008 17:56:18 -0500
Received: from (proxying for (SquirrelMail authenticated user bethfitz) by with HTTP; Fri, 24 Oct 2008 17:56:18 -0500 (CDT)
X-Spam-Status: No, score=2.7 required=5.0 X-Spam-Level: ++
Message-Id: <>
User-Agent: SquirrelMail/1.4.11 Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain;charset=iso-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit X-Priority: 3 (Normal)
Importance: NormalFrom: Lady Rebecca Thatcher.
No:36 Old Shrewberry Street,
London England.


I am Lady Rebecca Thatcher, suffering from cancerous ailment. I used to be
married to Sir Jeremy Thatcher an English man who is dead and resting
peacefully. My husband was into private practice all his life before he
passed. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of Twenty
Million Pounds (20,000,000.00 Million Great Britain Pounds Sterling), which
were derived from his vast estates and investment in capital market with
his bank here in UK. Presently, this money is still with the Bank.

Recently, my doctor told me that I have limited days to live due to the
cancerous problems I am suffering from.Though what bothers me most is the
stroke that I have in addition to the cancer. With this hard reality that
has befallen me, I have decided to donate this funds to you and want you
to use this gift which comes from my late husbands hard work to fund the
upkeep of widows, widowers,orphans,destitute, the down-trodden, physically
challenged children, barren-women and persons who prove to be genuinely
handicapped financially. I took this decision because I do not have any
child that will inherit this money.

My happiness is that I lived a life worthy of emulation. Please assure me
that you will act just as I have stated herein. Hope to hear from you soon.
You can contact me through my personal email address at: "email address removed".
Stay Blessed as you carry out this humanitarian task.

Sincerely yours
Lady Rebecca Thatcher.


What are the clues that this email is spoofing or an effort to steal Aunt Olivia's money or identity?

Explain to Aunt Olivia why she should not respond to this message.

Show her a strategy for checking the truthfulness of stranger messages that she gets in her email.


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2008 Cynthia O'Hora, released to public domain. Posted 10/2008