I had an email yesterday from the “U.S. Department of the Treasury.”
In the header it said “Your Payment is Approved.”
Of course, it was spam.
It had also gotten through our company spam filter.
Naturally, I was curious as to what the latest online scam is.
It purported to be from our recently appointed Treasury secretary, though the name was written as Jacob Jack Lew rather than Jacob Joseph Lew, or the more informal Jack Lew.
The body of the email read something like an edict from an ancient or medieval king that mentions all of his titles.
He is secretary of the Treasury, confirmed by the Senate, was White House chief of staff, director of the Office of Management and Budget and deputy secretary of State for Management and Resources.
What could someone with so many important titles want with little old me?
“By virtue of my position as the 76th Secretary of the Treasury, I have irrevocably instructed the Federal Reserve Board to approve your fund release via issuance of a CERTIFIED CHECK drawn on the FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF NEW YORK, which is the authourized bank for your fund release.”
With so many grand titles employed, obviously this email could not simply offer me my annual income tax refund. It had to be something more.
It sure was.
“However, as a former White House Chief of Staff under the Obama Administration, I wish to state categorically that a CERTIFIED CHECK of $6,500,000.00 USD drawn on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York will be issued and sent to you via the US Postal Service at no cost to you.”
But the no cost to me part was quickly followed by:
“The only cost associated with your fund release is the cost of processing a Fund Clearance Certificate.”
I am supposed to send $150 by Western Union to a person with a Chinese American name in San Francisco.
I don’t recall ever receiving a spam message from someone claiming to be from the Treasury before.
There are the standard spam messages that say my account at such and such a bank is frozen until I do what the email says, or that someone in Africa, who has a very large sum at a bank, wants me to help deposit it somewhere else to my great benefit.
I am sure you have received many of these as well.
What I am waiting for is something more plausible and dangerous as spam, like an offer of MS-65 Morgan dollars at half price. Collectors have been falling for that one or similar offers of discounts for the 50 years I have been collecting.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."