A Fairy Tale Love Story… or is it? — This week we have an exciting love story to share with our readers! Our friend Rob is getting married! The beautiful and smart young lady is named Lucy Woolf. She is also a university student, though we don’t know exactly where. Nevermind that she is 26 years old, deaf, and living in London, while Rob told her he is 63 and lives in the United States. These sweethearts were meant for each other and we’re excited to tell you about this supersonic romance that started with a random email into one of Rob’s scam-baiting inboxes. Please don’t judge these love-birds until you’ve heard Lucy’s story and read Rob’s empathetic responses that took these two strangers from “hello” to “I love you, let’s get married” in just a few days. Hope springs eternal, right? On July 20 at 4:55 AM, Rob received Lucy’s first email…
As anyone would expect, Rob was slightly suspicious of Lucy’s email. At about 6 AM he responded simply, with these sweet and heartfelt questions: “How did you get my email? Why me?” Suffice it to say, Rob’s response sparked a joy –no, a flame within Lucy’s heart! She quickly responded to Rob with this heartfelt message and three attached photos of herself. We’ve pasted one of her photos into the email…
Lucy is clearly a beautiful young lady. Rob, on the other hand… not so much. Lucy’s story is sad. She’s a deaf orphan (making it tough to talk on the phone), unable to make financial decisions about her father’s estate because her dad’s will set up those limiting conditions. As we write about Lucy’s circumstances, it brings tears to our eyes. We were impressed with Lucy’s resourcefulness to use some cool sounding online free database called “Via (Network Power Charitable Trust). When we Googled the words in parentheses, the first link we found was about an email posted in 2020 on the Kansas State University listing of online scams. Apparently, a 77-year old woman used this same online database to find a reliable person to give away $5.5 Million dollars. (Wow! It’s like a parallel upside-down universe where one person uses something for good and another one uses the same thing for evil!)
We were also moved to learn that being “DEAF” has an effect on Lucy’s hearing. (Her description, not ours.) Thank GOD the Mayo Clinic in the United States can correct this life-long challenge! What a brave young woman she is to take this risk to reach out to a stranger and propose marriage! But times are changing! According to this article on Brides.com, about 5% of heterosexual marriage proposals today are made by women! Go Lucy! (She’s such a trail blazer AND a brave soul!) In this next photo that Lucy sent to Rob, it’s easy to see both the warmth and determination this young lady has for finding her soul mate, repair her disability AND build a new life. Rob is truly a lucky man! By the way, over their 6-day email exchange, Lucy sent Rob 16 photos. They were affectionately labeled: 1, 2, A 1, A 2, A 3, A 4, A 5, A 6, etc. and 16 and 18. (No idea why #17 was skipped.) If you zoom in on the photo we pasted into the above email and then the stand-alone photo below, you’ll discover that Lucy has 2 small skin moles. The above photo shows them on the right side and the photo below shows them on the left side. Hmmmm….
On July 21 and 22, Rob and Lucy exchanged a few more emails. Rob told Lucy that he was a 63-year old Sales Manager, living in Santa Barbara, California. He told Lucy he was Catholic and even sent Lucy his driver’s license number because he was so moved by her personal story! He trusted her already! Rob’s email message was deeply moving and pulled at our emotions as well. He said “Here’s my info. This is great.” As you probably would have predicted, Rob’s sincere and moving response warmed Lucy’s heart even more! During the next 24 hours, she responded with several emails filled with love and appreciation, including the two below, and many more photos. She now calls Rob “Honey” and her “true one.” She tells Rob that she “loves to cuddle!” Awwwww! Break out your tissues because this beautiful university student is also an amazing poet, able to capture her emotions succinctly! She tells Rob that “distance can never be a barrier to us.” WOW!
Not to be outdone, Rob opened his heart as well and told Lucy that she is a “beautiful girl” (and that she looked like a teenager. Was she really 26?) He was open and honest, saying “I am divorced about 5 years – no kids. I have a large condo right near Santa Barbara, CA. My brother is a super rich international lawyer and bought it for me when I got divorced (my ex-wife got almost everything).”
Clearly, the only thing keeping these love-birds apart is a legal matter. Fortunately, Lucy contacted a lawyer to reach out to Rob so he can close this small gap in their lives. According to Lucy, the lawyer has “accepted to help me” and further tells Rob to “write to him and get all requirements for the marriage.” The lawyer is a man named BARRISTER KEITH WOOD, who uses the generic Gmail address: email@example.com. The only “Keith Wood Associates” we can find in the UK is an accounting business that dissolved in January, 2016, according to a UK Government website. Other than the accountant named Keith Wood, we found a business in Australia with that same name, on LinkedIn. The Australian Keith Wood is a consultant for waste water treatment. We can’t imagine that waste water is related to this story, can you?
Rob is amazingly fortunate and we’re very happy for him. We know him to be a kind-hearted, sincere and loving man who spends much of his free time responding to scam phone calls and emails. Just six days after this adorable couple met through a random email, Lucy’s love for him is overflowing! Look at how beautifully she expresses it, including the emojis she included. (Millenials love to use emojis!) The subject line says it all… “Good Morning, My Sweet.”
By the way, on July 27, Rob did hear from Lucy’s lawyer. We’ve added his email below, along with the marriage certificate that Rob was asked to complete. Barrister Wood says that Rob must pay 950 British Pounds (about $1,157.00) for the marriage license and related fees. On July 28, Rob told Barrister Wood that a marriage license in California only costs $50. He also added that he won’t be needing the Barrister’s services because his brother is an international lawyer and would do all this work for free! Though Rob hasn’t received a follow up response yet from Barrister Wood in the two days following that email, he did get this lovely message from Lucy soon after he emailed her lawyer…
Good Evening My Love. How was your day and I hope you are hale and hearty today?. I loved you yesterday. I love you still. I always have and I always will. Please you have to work with Attorney Keith Wood if you want us to get marry and receive the inheritance funds
You are the best and most beautiful things in my world though I cannot see you, nor touch you now… but I feel and touch you with my loving heart……I love you my darling.
A Lots of Love
Your Loving Wife
A few things concerned us about the marriage application itself. Lucy told Rob that she was 26 years old. However, her birth date shown on the license is March, 1995! This makes Lucy 27 years old. Also, we were surprised to learn that in the UK they also spell “marriage” as “mariage.” And we wonder why the form requests the Bride’s address in the Groom’s information? Lastly, Lucy’s signature literally looks like chicken scratch and appears on white against the yellowish document. Perhaps, in addition to being deaf, Lucy is talented with Photoshop and has dysgraphia? In any case, we will remain hopeful for both Rob and Lucy. In the infamous words of that impressive clergyman from the movie “The Princess Bride,” “MAWAGE is WIKE a DWEAM WIFIN a DWEAM.” It is our dweam that Rob and Barrister Wood will come to some agreement so that Rob and Lucy can wiv out their dweam, for the west of their wives!
FOOTNOTE: We’ve previously reported how easy it is for scammers to collect people’s personal information, such as a names and email addresses, like Rob’s. Check out this article at LawFareBlog.com describing how several data brokers have recently been sued for selling data to cybercriminals that was focused on the elderly and other vulnerable people. Many thanks to Rob for sharing the details of this exciting experience in his life! He’s already told us that we’re invited to the wedding! We can’t wait! Sadly, a previous relationship he had with a woman he met via email fell through after an exchange of many emails. Rob kept asking her to send a picture of her kissing Rob’s photo, but she wouldn’t (or couldn’t) do it.
Online Shopping Scams! – This week, Trend Micro discovered three trending online shopping scam sites designed by scammers to obtain your credentials — and your money. Use their FREE, all-in-one tool to combat scams with ease!
Why Is It Almost Impossible to Stop Online Fraud? – We have REPEATEDLY made the claim that the Internet favors criminals! ICANN, and their many Registrars, make LOTS of money from criminal misuse of their services so there is NO incentive for them to better protect the public! And governments, including the US Government, are severely lacking in laws that protect consumers or laws that will force companies to do more to mitigate the risks for consumers online. Think about it a moment… Coffee cups purchased from McDonalds are required to say “Caution: Contents Hot” but web browser makers are not required to inform consumers that the domain used in a link was registered just 5 days earlier and is therefore HIGHLY suspicious, or that the link says “Bank of America” but actually points to a link-shortening service like Bit.ly! The public, including anti-scam organizations, can report fraudulent websites but sometimes it takes days, even weeks, to take them down. Or these fraudulent sites are never taken down by the hosting services or name services that direct traffic to them. Check out this recent article on Scamadviser explaining WHY it is almost impossible to shut down online fraud.
A perfect example of how poorly the public is protected is a recent domain created for a scam business selling machinery. It is called cleburnetruckequipment.com for “Cleburne Truck and Equipment Company.” The domain for the website was registered in Malaysia on May 8. Victims have reported losing hundreds of thousands of dollars during the last two months, according to this short video from Channel 6 WBRC in Alabama. People have reported this fraud to the police, and likely the FBI as well. And yet, as of July 30, the website cleburnetruckequipment.com is still available on the Internet.
The United States Government has a division called the Bureau of Consumer Protection, which they say “stops unfair, deceptive and fraudulent business practices.” But it doesn’t do ENOUGH to protect consumers from Internet fraud. Change is LONG overdue! We encourage you to email, write and call your state representatives and complain about this fact! It’s time for change!
On an entirely different topic… please don’t respond to crap like this next email from Trawneh Maamun, or whatever this jokester’s name really is. We can promise you that any exchange will not end well for you. Just step away quietly and let sleeping dogs lie.
Phish Nets: CitiBank, Microsoft Office, and SquareUp – Phishermen have clearly spoofed the Zoom domain when sending this email. It certainly didn’t come from any domain owned by CitiBank! If you read the email carefully, we’re sure you’ll agree with us that it doesn’t make sense at all! Though this email claims to be about your Citi account, the link to “Restore Access Now” actually points to a website called “onrender[.]com.”
Lunge for the delete key!
One of our long-time readers is a Safety Officer for a chemical plant. She is frequently targeted by cybercriminals, intent on causing harm to the company. Last week she sent us this lovely phishing email sent to her from a free email service (gmx.net) informing her that her password had expired. But the link in this scam pointed to the domain c-leader[.]digital! When we visited the link, we couldn’t help but smile, knowing that we were being taken to “your Organization’s sign-in page!”
In the last decade, we have only seen a phishing scam targeting SquareUp users once! We reported on it in our December 2, 2020 newsletter. Until last week, that is! Check out this email from a hacked account at San Diego University saying “we’ve recently detected some suspicious activity on your Square account.” The recipient, an elderly woman, not only didn’t have a SquareUp account, she had no idea what it was used for. (It’s a financial services and digital payment company, based in California.) The link may say it points to Squareup.com but a mouse-over revealed that it points instead to the link-shortening service called tinyurl. When we unshortened that link, using Urlex.org, we learned that you’ll be redirected to a crazy domain registered just 2 months ago, appropriately containing the name “fishers.” At least they got that part right!
Veterans, Join This Class Action Lawsuit! – Once again, a clickbait lure is thrown into an Internet sea, inviting you to make money by joining a class action lawsuit. But this time the lure is tossed into the pool of American veterans. The email is for Veterans who may have been exposed to contaminated water at Camp LeJeune. What makes this particular email so heinous is the fact that the US Senate just passed a new bill that is soon expected to be signed into law about this very issue! (Read this article about it on ClassAction.org.) The cybercriminal gang who sent this clickbait didn’t waste any time targeting Vets with this landmine. The email was sent from a bizarre domain called USChromeHearts[.]org and the links point to another crap domain called newdema[.]com. Both domains were registered anonymously, and fairly recently, in Iceland through NameCheap. Sound familiar? (For those who don’t know, a VERY active cybercriminal gang in another country loves to register domain names in Iceland using Namecheap.) The link in this clickbait is NOT SAFE to click!
Hackers Are Watching You and My Malware Recorded You – We recently received the screenshot below from a woman who was scrolling through posts on Facebook. She saw a post saying that a famous actor had died. (Sorry but she didn’t tell us who it was but she later learned that it wasn’t true.) Of course, she was shocked and clicked the link. All of a sudden she was hit with this popup telling her that “Hackers are watching you!” (We apologize for the poor quality of the screenshot but that’s what we received.) It’s important to notice that the message shows you that you are on a scammer’s website called shaxon[.]shop. Like sooooo many scam domains, this domain was also registered anonymously in Iceland through Namecheap! ARGHHHHHH! Will ICANN PLEASE SHUT DOWN NAMECHEAP!
If this kind of popup ever hits you, NEVER click OK or click anything else! You risk getting malware on your device or getting a “browser hijack.” PCRisk.com has posted some good instructions on how to deal with this threat BUT on the same page with the instructions are green button links to download software called “Combo Cleaner.” Based on reviews from this Facebook page, Trustpilot and other websites, we do not recommend using Combo Cleaner!
We have written many times about nasty extortion tricks that scammers have used to target people. Many begin with an email claiming that malware on your device was used to capture an image or video of you masturbating. The threat is that the hacker will post it online for all to see, unless you pay him a bitcoin extortion fee. But it is all a lie. There was no photo or video, and no malware on your device. Below is another recent email of this kind that was received by a woman who knew it was total bull-turdies! Don’t believe crap like this! The sender NEVER provides real proof that they have any embarrassing images! Sometimes, they share a password with you as “proof” that they have installed malware but your password was stolen from some other website hack and posted to the dark web. To read more about these scams, visit our feature article My Malware Recorded You!
Amazon Account Terminated –Here’s a text sent to us by a reader claiming that her Amazon account was terminated “due to unusual activity.” She was offered a link to click that pointed to the domain qr1[.]be. This is a free site that generates QR codes. Scanning a scammer’s QR code can be EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!
Until next week, surf safely!
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