The “Nigerian” scam, so-called because it originated from some Nigerian nationals who conned people into giving away large sums of money in exchange for a sizeable share in some dictator’s ill-gotten wealth, has evolved once again.
This time, however, it seems the goal is to steal a person’s identity.
I received an “urgent” e-mail from a certain Mr. Freeman informing me that a Mrs. Rita Peuk came up with some documents showing that I was dead. As my next of kin, she wanted my inheritance of $5.6 million to be remitted to her account.
Mr. Freeman wrote, “We demand you response to our e-mail. If we do not hear from you on before next weekend, we shall remit the fund into her designated bank account.”
I hope other recipients of this e-mail will not rush to prove they are still very much alive by providing documents containing sensitive personal information, which scam artists can use for whatever fraudulent schemes they have in mind.
There are many things about this e-mail that should alert people on why it’s a scam. Unfortunately, many recipients will probably be blinded by the amount, $5.6 million, and will ignore tell-tale signs that they are being conned.
The most obvious sign is Freeman’s failure to say who or which organization he represents. Obviously he wanted me to assume he was representing a bank.
And, fortunately for me, I do not know anybody who has a lot of money to leave me $5.6 million in inheritance. I do not even expect to inherit $100. If there is such a windfall, Ms. Peuk is welcome to it.
As long as nobody questions my continued existence, I will not provide Mr. Freeman proof that I am still very much alive. As the great Mark Twain wrote, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
Free de-sludging service
Like me, many Metro Manila residents are reluctant to let strangers into their homes regardless of who they claim to be or what they represent. So, when some guy knocked on my door claiming to be from Envirokonsult, sent by Maynilad Water Services Inc. to de-sludge my septic tank, I was skeptical, especially because he said it was for free.
It seemed too good to be true. De-sludging firms would clean septic tanks for not less than P5,000 as far as I know. But a check with Maynilad confirmed the activity was legimate.
Maynilad’s Jen Rufino says free septic tank cleaning is part of the company’s services in its concession area. It is meant to maintain the efficiency of septic tanks and reduce pollution going into bodies of water. Regular desludging will prevent backflow or overflow and prevent spilling of waste into drainage lines.
All household septic tanks will be cleaned within a 5-7 year cycle.
Maynilad’s Septage Management team conducts a sanitation roadshow for a barangay or homeowners’ association so it can inform residents or members of the de-sludging schedule. Also discussed during the roadshows are the requirements for the service, as well as its benefits to the community.
The three-man desludging team is composed of the sanitation specialist, driver and helper. Contents of the septic tanks are loaded into a vacuum truck and transported to Maynilad’s nearest Septage Treatment Plant where they will be processed and turned into biosolids for use as fertilizer or soil conditioner.
Although de-sludging is free, Maynilad notes low acceptance of the service. Some customers refuse the service because their septic tanks are located inside the house and overlaid by concrete or tiles, which will involve some expense on their part to open.
Others think their septic tanks do not need cleaning, while a few simply do not want to be bothered.
Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail [email protected]