Online Banking

My bank is terrible at online banking. I've been trying to make my mortgage payments online, and it has been nothing but a headache. My checking, savings, and mortgage are all through the same bank, so I thought this would be a simple matter. Oh no. I was so wrong. My normal mortgage payment is close to $1100. I normally like to pay $1450 so that I can pay down the principal faster. During the first month of our mortgage, I sent a physical check to my bank for $1450. This worked great. I saw online that my account was credited with a payment for that month, and that the extra was against the principal. Perfect! Later that same month, we received our escrow balance from our previous lender, and decided to apply all of it to the principal of our mortgage. I went online and did the balance transfer: $1800 from checking to mortgage. I thought, "Yeah, our principal is going to go down a lot!" Wrong! Instead of applying $1800 to the principal, $1100 was credited as the following month's payment, and the rest went to the principal. I though, "Well, that is close, and now we can skip a month's payment." I would really have liked to have the principal paid down, but I really wasn't too concerned.
So two months later, we decided to make a large payment so that the principal would get paid down again. We paid $2400 this time, online yet again. A week later I checked our mortgage info. Grrrr!!! They had counted that as TWO payments, and only applied $200 to the principal. I was pretty irate with that, so I called the bank. The operator had no idea why that happened, but suggested that in the future I pay less than two months payments in a single payment, and that it would get creditied properly. This meant making two payments a month, but since it was online, that would be easy enough. He backed out the transaction and gave us our single month's payment, and then $1300 against the principal. Okay, so now we should have our normal monthly principal payments, plus the $2350 of extra principal we had paid for the year.
So now it is December, and we have a January payment coming up. I go online, yet again, and make a payment of $1450. This should be no problem, right? The payment amount is less than two months of payments, and I have not yet made another payment this month. So this should go through just fine. Today I checked our mortgage info. Next payment due: January 1, 2004!!! What!!! That can't be right. So I check the transaction history for the mortgage. All of the $1450 that I paid was put towards principal. What the hell is going on?!?! So I call the bank again. The operator is just as confused as I am. I asked her if there was any way I could specify if I was making a principal payment or a normal payment, and she went to talk to her supervisor. The answer: no. Evidently the transactions are entered online, but then are processed by hand by someone at the bank. That doesn't seem efficient at all! So each person who processes the payment has to make a judgement call on what you wanted to do with your payment. This person saw my payment, and decided that, since I had already paid my December mortgage, that this payment must be principal only. Grr!!! The operator suggested that I wait until the payment due date to make my online payment. My concern there is that 1) I'm going to incur a late fee, and 2) my credit rating is going to get smashed. She eased my mind a bit by telling me that I had a 15 day grace period to make a payment, and if it is done within that time, no mark will be placed on my credit. She also said that credit reporting is not done until the following month, so if there is a problem, I can always call back.
I really wish these folks would get their system in order. They need to clean up the interface so that I can specify how much is principal, if it is a normal payment, and how many payments to spread it across. It is ridiculous that this is not automated. The bank should not be making a best guess each time I make a payment. And I definitely should not have to call the bank every month to straighten out their errors!


Piracy is a very hot topic right now. The music industry is actively pursuing those who illegally download their products. The MPAA is running ads encouraging people not to promot video piracy. Video game companies have developed complicated measures of piracy protection. Most of these methods fail to stop the growing tide of digital piracy. I know that I used to be guilty of the same crime. In college, I didn't think twice about downloading a CD from a file sharing system, or searching for a serial number, password, or crack for a new video game. Sometimes these products would be available in our dorm before they were released to the public. I thought I was really clever to get all of this stuff for free.

My attitude regarding piracy has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. Our office used to run a server that everyone would copy their MP3 collections to. A lot of the songs were from CDs that we owned, but it was difficult to tell. Then I started to read articles about companies that were sued for millions of dollars for keeping just such a system. Ours was promptly dismantled. Then I started to think about the industry that I was in. I was in the business of selling software. We create custom software for our customers. Due to the nature of our product, we generally do not attempt to install any protection measures, as there is very little desire by most to steal what we make. Still, we make software, and if our customers were able to take it from us without paying for it, it would really kill us. After thinking about that for a while, I decided to delete any software from my PC that I did not have a legal right to. This got rid of a lot of games, but I found that open source software provided a lot of the same applications and some of the games that I liked for free. And open source software was legal. I had a legal copy of Windows NT, and a legal copy of Office 97. As much as I despise Microsoft, I felt better about running a copy that I had a right to rather than one that I had stolen. Even if I did not own those, I could always run a version of Linux and Open Office freely and legally.

The next thing I did was to delete all of the music that I had downloaded from file sharing networks. I miss a lot of that music, but I still have a large collection of music that I really enjoy. My stand on downloading music now is that, it is okay to download a song if your intent is to discover new music that you might be interested in. However, downloading entire albums is not okay. Just as you wouldn't walk into a record store and steal the physical album, you should not download the album from the web and think it is okay. Many people are convinced that, because it is easy, and because you never leave your house, then you can't really be stealing. That is wrong. If you are downloading music that you have no right to, and you never intend to purchase the music, you are stealing. Just as you can go to a store and listen to any track, I have no issue with someone downloading a track from a CD to listen to see if they like it. If you do like it, then buy the CD. Or, if you just like the one track, open iTunes and pay 99 cents for it. Lots of companies creating iTunes clones which are making it cheap and easy to download the music you like legally. There is not excuse for downloading libraries of music and feeling as though you have no responsibility to pay for it.

What really disappoints me are the people who are now pirating movies. We had an intern this past year who downloaded The Hulk and Matrix Reloaded before they ever hit the theaters. A couple of people that it was really cool, and watched the movie. Movies are so different from music. Music you can listen to while you drive, work, or exercise. You can mix your favorite tracks into a personal CD, or compile a library and listen to it over and over. Movies are much more intimate. As the recent issue of Wired points out, you wouldn't sit down and create a mix DVD of all of your favorite chase scenes, and play that while you work. Downloading movies takes a long, long time. The files are huge. Not only that, but usually the quality is very poor. You end up with some joker in a theater with a handycam, or else a pre-release version of the movie with editing markers all over the place.

Now that I am taking a course on law, it has become crystal clear for me: downloading copyrighted material that you do not have a right to is wrong. Shoplifting a DVD, a CD, or a video game from BestBuy is the same as downloading those items from the web. It costs $0.99 to download a song from iTunes, or $9.99 for an entire album. Those prices are sure to fall. If you really want the disc itself, checkout eBay or SecondSpinfor a cheap used copy. That is legal, and it gets you the official disc and contents. If you want a movie, go to BlockBuster and pay $4 for a new release, or checkout NetFlix For $20 a month, you can get unlimited movies from NetFlix with no late fee. And those prices are sure to fall as well. In short, if you are holding off on going to see a movie, or buying a CD, because you know that you can get it on the web, you should realize that something is wrong.


PepBoys took care of my car yesterday. Everytime I called to get a quote on the work, I got a different number. I was going to be happy with any repair that was under $1K. Hare had quoted $1250 at the minimum, and originally asked for $1450 for the repair. That's just ridiculous. The average of the quotes from PepBoys was around $400. The final amount I paid was $782. I wish it were lower, but I feel better about that number than the others. The break down goes

Rack & Pinion300.00
Rack & Pinion Labor170.00
High Pressure Hose110.00
High Pressure Hose Labor40.00
Return Hose60.00
Return Hose Labor100.00

I complained a bit that I could have found the Rack & Pinion at Advanced Auto Parts for $220, so they gave me a 10% discount on the entire cost. That was about the same as the difference in the cost of the parts. So my final bill was something like $782. I'm just glad to have it all done with. The car drives a bit more stiffly than it did before. It is sort of hard to describe. Driving the Bravada is very smooth. The power steering in that car makes driving effortless. I have to use quite a bit more effort in my car now. It is not bad, it is just different from the way it was before. I'm sure that I will get used to it within a few weeks of driving. I need this car to hold together for another three or four years before I can start thinking about getting a new car for myself. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

I'm Really Tired

I keep thinking of the new Saturn car commercial where the bad drivers warn you about their driving. The first person says "My husband is going to cut you off when the light turns green." The next one says, "I'm driving with my knees." Finally, the last guy looks over, very haggard, and says, "I'm really tired". I crack up every time I see that last one. Right now, I totally identify with it though. I played volleyball last night, and I didn't get the gym closed until 9:30. The players keep wanting to play later and later. I'm going to have to start kicking them out. Then, I woke up at 4:40am this morning so I could get ready to go to Lafayette for work. We had an end of project meeting on-site scheduled for 7am, and I had to meet the crew at our office to travel together at 5:45. So I'm dragging right now. I've had three cups of coffee, but I think I am beyond the rescuing reach of coffee. I'm just getting the jitters. "I'm really tired"
On the upside, I get to leave work an hour earlier if I want to. Our core hours run until 4pm, so I must stay until at least then. Then I can go home, play with the dog, and pass out on the couch.


Solved PuzzleWooohoooo!!! I have finally put together the evil, horrible, outrageously difficult puzzle that my mom found for me last Christmas!! The picture on the left is of the pyramid, finally solved. I've been struggling with this thing for a long time. When my mom gave it to me, she said it was a very difficult puzzle. She and Jenn had already taken it apart, and it did not have the solution. I played with it for a couple of weeks, and to Jenn's infinite delight, I was not able to solve it. Usually when I get a puzzle, I have it solved in a matter of minutes. This one truly humbled me. My friend Jason is also very good at puzzles. When he stopped by, I let him take a crack at it. It stumped his as well. Double-joy for Jenn! I was so frustrated with this puzzle. Not only was the answer not forthcoming, but just getting partial solutions to hold together was difficult. The pieces are made out of some type of plastic or acrylic. They slide very easily. If the structure is not sound, the whole pyramid comes crashing down, mid-construction. This can be very frustrating when you have been concentrating on a particular formation for a couple of hours. Below is a picture of the puzzle with all of the pieces laid out.

Puzzle Pieces
Midway through this year I decided to give up and just search for the web for the solution. The web has everything right? wrong. After endless googling, all I could find was that the puzzle was made by Kadon, and sold through their website GamePuzzles Worse yet, they no longer sell this puzzle. The best I could find were a couple of old images which had not been removed from the site yet. They still sell the pyramid puzzle with four length side, but not the five length side like mine.

I was starting to make headway on a solution though. I had come up with a couple of simple rules that I knew I had to follow when forming a solution. The 'L' shaped pieces were the key. Due to the 90 degree angle on the piece, they could only fit into the puzzle in a particular way. If you were looking down on the puzzle, and you placed one of these pieces in, the section that sticks up must fall away from the point of the triangle. That probably doesn't make any sense unless you are looking at the puzzle. Also, some pieces have a nice fit. For instance, the piece shaped like a 'C' fits very nicely with the 'L' shaped piece, when placed in a particular way. I took this as a sign. After trying what seemed like countless combinations with the 'L' pieces, I finally found the one that works. Yeah me!

After some further research on the web, the best I could find were two math wizards that also own this puzzle. They each documented their solution, but I don't know if I understand how to read their solution! In any case, I'm releived to have this challenge behind me. Now I get to be the one to enjoy as other people struggle with this puzzle.


MechanicHave you ever noticed how much a mechanic's coveralls look a lot like a prison jump suit? I'm beginning to think that they mean the same thing. After doing some research into my car's problem(s), I've discovered that Hare is making an attempt to seriously gouge me. My car does have a problem. It is bleeding power steering fluid all over my garage. I have to put a quart of fluid in every week to keep it from running dry. When I took my care to Hare, they said that my power steering gear had blown all of the seals, and that I would need a new steering gear and hoses. They quoted me $1430. After recovering from my heart attack, I started looking into this more.

After consulting with my mechanicly inclined coworker, he concluded that I needed a Rack & Pinion. I took a look at Advanced Auto Parts and NAPA, and both had rack & pinion units for under $300 for my car. The parts portion of the Hare quote was $1000, so this was a huge savings. So I called Hare, and they said that they would do the install for me for $550. That's not bad, I'd cut my costs in half.

Then I started wondering if I could get a better deal on the labor. I gave PepBoys a call. They said that they could perform the install for $232, and would charge me a $75 fee to return the core. Awesome! My costs have ben halved yet again. So then I asked what the cost would be to get my part from PepBoys. The rep told me that they did not carry the rack for my car, but they used a local company to refurbish them. The rep said that, if I could afford to lose my car overnight, they could have the rack refurbished for $130, bringing my total cost of repair to $362.

So with a little research, I went from a breath taking, Touretts inducing $1430 repair charge, to a much more manageable $360 repair charge. I'm so glad I didn't just give Hare the nod to fix my car. It is really sad that I have to work this hard to get a fair deal for fixing my car.

Continued Diagnosis

I've done some follow-up diagnosis on my car. It looks like I need a new Rack & Pinion, and maybe some new power steering hoses. I ordered the Hayne's repair guide for my car from Amazon. It had quite a bit of good information in there. The pictures and descriptions helped me to understanding what I was looking at, and what needed replaced. I also consulted with my coworker, who used to work as a mechanic. He agreed with the Hare mechanic that I needed a new rack & pinion, but the price was outrageous. We visited NAPA Online and Parts America to get a better idea of the real cost of the parts. The Hare mechanic told me that the parts were going to run between $800 and $1000 based on if I got the GM part or a third party part. NAPA had the third party part for $300, and Parts America had the same part for $250. Hare was also asking $425 for 5 hours of labor. I'm not sure I can really argue the labor, but a markup of more than 100% on the parts makes me angry. Another thing I learned is the term "core" as it applies to replacement parts. The part from NAPA was $300, with a $160 core fee. The core fee is returned if I send NAPA the rack and pinion that gets replaced. I'm sure that Hare was going to charge me the full price of the part plus core, and not give me the core deposit back when they sent the manufacturer my replaced part. What a bunch of hosers!!!

Pirates of the Caribbean

We picked up a couple of flicks from the Blockbuster next door tonight: Pirates of the Caribbean and 28 Days Later. Tonight we watched Pirates. We both liked it! It reminded me quite a bit of the The Mummy in the way that wry humor was woven into the dialogue. It was very clever. The special effects were very impressive as well. I was very surprised to learn that this is a Disney film. Usually Disney is a little shy about making a movie with this much violence. Johnny Depp was actually watchable in this film as well. After Sleepy Hollow and The Ninth Gate (never, ever, upon pain of death watch The Ninth Gate), I was pretty sure I never wanted to watch another film with Depp in it. This film saved him from that fate. Depp seems to be hit or miss in film. I liked Edward Scissorhands, but he didn't talk much in that film either. What's Eating Gilbert Grape was a fantastic film, although very depressing.

Orlando Bloom also plays a role in the film. For Lord of the Rings fans, you know him better as Legolas. It probably wasn't too much of a stretch to go from playing the elf to playing the Will Turner. Both are somewhat conflicted reluctant heros. Keira Knightley plays the love interest. She has a few good lines, but she spends most of the movie with her lips pouted out like a fish out of water. I'm not sure if they shot her full of collagen before the film, but at times it looks like she is incapable of closing her mouth.

I'm getting side tracked though. In all, I thought the movie was very good. If you haven't seen it yet, I would recommend it.

Kill My Car

This has been a rough week. I had the whole issue with AT&T Wireless concerning my cell phone. Then I had to straighten out a payment with the bank. We made a very large payment, and wanted the overage to go towards the principal. Instead, the bank counted it as two payments, with the excess against principal. So I had to call them to get that straightened out. And now, my car is becoming a pain in the butt again.

Last Friday I took my car in for an oil change. The low coolant alarm had been sounding intermittently. It would come on for a second, then go off. Sometimes right as I started the car, other times while I was driving. I checked the coolant level, and it was fine. So at the oil change, I asked them to inspect the wiring harness. They told me everything was fine with the harness, and that they could replace the sensor for $55. Since it wasn't a real problem, I told them I would just monitor the coolant level. As I drove out of the shop, I saw that the light wasn't coming on. It still hasn't gone off, so I'm suspecting that it was just a loose wiring harness after all.

So Tuesday morning I pull my car into work, and as I turn the wheel as I'm parking, I hear this faint buzzing sound. It sounded sort of like an electric motor revving up. I didn't pay any attention to it though. That night, as I pulled out of the parking lot, the sound was much much worse. Every time I turned the wheel, the whole car groaned. I was pretty sure that it had to be a power steering problem. When I got home I saw that there was a big puddle of red oil in the garage. My car has been leaking power steering fluid like a sieve! I thought it was very suspicious that this would happen right after a visit to the mechanic.

I had Wednesday off of work, so I took the car back to Hare Chevrolet. I explain to the mechanic what was going on, and he takes it back into the garage. Over 45 minutes later he comes back out with a sour look on his face. He explains that the power steering gear has blown out all of its seals. I told him that it was pretty coincidental that this would happen right after an oil change. He said it was just an "unfortunate coincidence". Whatever. He took me back into the garage to have a look at the car. It was up on the lifts, and I could see that power steering fluid was all over the place. He showed me the parts that he was talking about, and explained that the seals could not be repaired, but that the entire power steering gear would need to be replaced. GM had the part for total replacement cost of $1430, or I could get a third party part for $1200. According to Kelley Blue Book, my car is hardly worth more than $5,000. I've already spent over $2,000 on my car this year replacing all of the tires, replacing a power steering valve, and replacing two bent rims. To keep this heap running I've got to pour another $1400 into it!!! No way!

Needless to say, I was not in the best mood for the rest of the day. Rather than having the service performed, I had them top up the steering fluid levels. The car is still going to leak like mad, but I can get a bunch of fluid from a parts shop for fairly cheap. The largest container at Pep Boys was $2.99. I figure that I can just leak oil for cheaper than I can replace the part. I'm going to have another mechanic take a look at this before I have the fix done. I may also try to pull one over on a car dealer by just trading it in. New cars cost just as much as used cars, with all of the discounts we receive. If I can get a dealer to not notice the leak, maybe I can get a good deal. Maybe....

Niece got Game

Nadia is on the web! Our Kate and Travis have put together a site to journal Nadia's development over at She is certainly a coy little girl. We saw her at Thanksgiving, and you could tell that she was happy, but she didn't want to smile and let on that she was happy. What a little flirt! It will be a lot of fun watching her grow. And pretty soon she is going to have a friend at these get togethers!

New Class - The Ethical and Legal Environment of Business

Rod HaywoodI've started my next class at IWU: ADM 518 - The Ethical and Legal Environment of Business. The facilitator for the class is Rod Haywood (big guy in the middle). This class is a little intimidating, but it looks like it is going to be a ton of fun. The reading is pretty tough. Nothing but hundreds of dry pages on the law, with a few verses from the Bible thrown in for good measure. Rod makes the class though. When I first arrived for class, he was standing at the front, almost brooding. But as soon as class started, he lightened the whole room. The entire class was laughing at times. He kept the mood very light, and presented the material in such a way that it was interesting. I thought the case studies were interesting to begin with, but he was even making the defintions and such fun. This is a huge relief. Our last instructor was, how should I say, a bore! He just read the book to us, then read us the book answers. This is going to be much, much better. The first thing Rod did in class was to cancel all of the writing assignments. There were assignments due with each class, and it is a huge relief to have them removed. Now I can just concentrate on the reading, and try to understand it. The faciliator made the tests sound pretty tough, but hopefully I can pick this stuff up quickly. I wouldn't want to damage my 4.0!

AT&T Wireless Sucks

AT&T Wireless LogoI've just about had it with AT&T Wireless. Back in May of this year, I aggravated Jenn to no end as I attempted to find the best wireless plan out there. My work had mandated that we all get cell phones, and was willing to reimburse us for $20 of the expense each month. For those who already had cell phones, this was a boon. For me, however, it was just a boo!!! I didn't have a cell phone, and I didn't want one. We had a great deal on Jenn's phone from Verizon, at just $20 per month for 100 minutes. Unfortunately, they weren't offering that deal any longer. I decided to look around, and settled on the AT&T Wireless National GSM plan which had 300 minutes each month for $29.99. It included free incoming text messages, free voicemail, free call waiting. It seemed like a great deal. I added the mMode internet access for $2.99 a month so I could play with that as well.

And thus began my slow painful torture by AT&T. I received my first months bill, and I only had 200 minutes per month. I scratched my head. I was absolutely positive that the web site advertised 300 minutes per month. So I gave my friends at ATTWS a call. Oh, their mistake. The original plan had 200 minutes, but the web offer provided for 100 more. So the operator not only added the missing minutes, but also gave me an additional 60 minutes for the next month for my trouble. Woohoo, I thought. Way to go customer service.

Then in July, I received my bill and it had a $26 activation fee. What the hell?!?! I had signed up for the 2 year service agreement, which indicated that the activation fee would be waived. Another call to my friends at AT&T. Somehow, they had lost my signature for the two year agreement. The $26 was the activation fee that automatically was given when the two year was not received, and the one year service agreement was enacted instead. The operator offered to send me a new 2 year agreement, and assured me that if I filled it out and sent it in, the $26 fee would be credited to my account. Okay, accidents happen. No biggie.

So I'm on my way back from a client one day in July, and I look at my phone. Instead of the big AT&T Wireless network indicator at the top, it says Cingular. That's odd. Maybe they have an agreement with Cingular that I can call on their network now. Another call to AT&T. The operator tells me that yes, AT&T and Cingular have entered into a roaming agreement to cover areas of Indiana that the current AT&T network does not reach. Awesome! Now I can make calls from more areas right! And I have the national plan with the no roaming, no long distance gurauntee, so no extra charges, right? WRONG! Cingular charges a $0.75 per minute roaming fee while on their network. I just about blew water through my nose (I was taking a sip at the time). Wow! That is an outrageous per minute fee. I guess I'll just have to watch myself to make sure that I'm calling from the AT&T tower, and only use the Cingular tower in an emergency. No problem the operator says, my phone has the ability to choose the tower to talk to, when multiple choices are available. Okay, not a great situation, but still not bad.

I start traveling to Lafayette on a daily basis for a project in August, and I notice that, for the majority of the trip, I'm on the Cingular network. That sucks, because if anyone from work calls, I'm going to get charged roaming. I'll just cross my fingers..... Crap it's ringing!! I had over $7.00 in roaming fees that first month alone. Suckage! But I notice something else on my bill. AT&T Voice Dial service has been added. What the crap!?!? My phone has built in voice recognition, I don't need that service. I saw that the invoice was credited for the same amount as the service fee ($3.99), so I thought, well at least I can remove it and not be hurt by it. Another cheery call to what are becoming my enemies at AT&T. Operator person is more than happy to remove the service, and can't understand why it was added in the first place. In any case, my account has been changed, and the October bill I receive in November should show that.

Ahh, sweet November. Should be a repreive from my monthly wrestling match with AT&T right? No, they got lonely and decided to do something else to get me to call. I receive my bill (again, in excess of $45 on a plan of $29.99), and I not only spy the Voice Dialing charge, but now they have added Text Messaging as well! Grrr...... Speed dial AT&T. "Due to high call volume, there is a long wait to get an operator. The current wait is.....10 minutes". Blood.... pressure.....rising...... Must... control.... rage...... So after 10 minutes of playing on the web waiting for an answer, I get Chevon. Poor Chevon. Immediately after answering the phone, she goes into a coughing, sneezing, hacking fit. Evidently she has a cold. I hope they don't share headsets. Wait a minute, YES I DO! I explain to Chevon the myriad of problems I have had on my account. I tell her that I don't want VoiceDial, which I was charged $0.77 for this month (who knows where that came from). I don't want Text Messaging, I never did! I'm also tired of the mMode internet access, which I never use. A few sniffles and sneezes later, Chevon takes a look at my account, and can't figure out why I've been getting these weird charges. She then laughs and says "Yeah, we have a few thousand account change forms to work through today. This happens all the time." Chevon, let me tell just how reassuring that is, that this service slamming is a known and epidemic problem for AT&T. Grr.... Chevon puts me on hold several times (Her computer is slow today you know) and works through crediting my account and removing the services. When she is done, she has credited my account for $6.55 worth of monthly services I either never asked for, didn't use, or don't want. She assures me that they will not show up again either. Thanks Chevon, go get a tissue.

If you are in the market for a cell phone, do not, I repeat, DO NOT get an AT&T Wireless GSM plan. I spend more time on the Cingular network than I do on the AT&T network. I guess it is a small blessing that the contract was shortened from 2 years to just one. In May of next year, I'll probably be switching my services over to Cingular. I can use the same phone, and they have better coverage in all of the areas that I travel to.

Lottery Scam

Every once in a while, I receive a forward from a relative or someone afraid of a new internet virus, or claiming that if you forward a message that a charity will get a dollar. These are almost always hoaxes. Then there are the more criminal Nigerian E-mail scams, where the sender claims to have some money to move, and needs your help. I usually just discard those as well. But today, I received a lottery hoax. I've copied the message below:

Received: from (EHLO ( by with SMTP; Tue, 02 Dec 2003 10:17:24 -0800
Received: from by (iPlanet Messaging Server 5.2 HotFix 1.14 (built Mar 18 2003)) id <>; Wed, 03 Dec 2003 04:16:41 +1000 (EST)
Received: from ([]) by (iPlanet Messaging Server 5.2 HotFix 1.14 (built Mar 18 2003)) with ESMTP id <>; Wed, 03 Dec 2003 04:16:37 +1000 (EST)
Received: from [] by (mshttpd) ; Tue, 02 Dec 2003 18:16:37 +0000 (GMT)
Date: Tue, 02 Dec 2003 18:16:37 +0000 (GMT)
From: "internationallottouk1" Add to Address Book
MIME-version: 1.0
X-Mailer: iPlanet Messenger Express 5.2 HotFix 1.14 (built Oct 29 2003)
Content-type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-language: en
Content-transfer-encoding: 7BIT
Content-disposition: inline
X-Accept-Language: en
Priority: normal
Content-Length: 1737


REF:EE/EGS/16-DD2751144 AND BATCH NO:53/1014/NBM.


We are pleased to inform you of the announcement today, 2nd of DECEMBER, 2003,
as part of our END of the year bonanza.

You or your company, attached to ticket number 034-1416-4612-750, with serial
number 6521-11 drew the lucky numbers 31-51-22-24-39-43, and consequently won
the lottery in category B.

You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of US$2,500,000 in cash
credited to file REF:EE/EGS/16-DD2751144

This is from total prize money of US$12,500,000.00 shared among 5 winners in
this category. All participants were selected through a computer balloting system
drawn from 96,000 names from Middle East, Asia, Africa, Canada, Europe and
North America and Oceania as part our International Promotions Program, which is
conducted annually.


Your fund is now deposited with EQUITY TRUST ENTERPRISES LIMITED , a security
House insured in your name. Due to the mix up of some numbers and names, we ask
that you keep this award strictly from public notice until your claim has been
processed and your money remitted to your account. This is part of our
security protocol to avoid double claiming or unscrupulous acts by participants of
this program.

We hope with a part of your prize, you will participate in our end of year high
stakes US$1.3 billion International Lottery.

To begin your claim, please contact your claims agent;

SATELLITE PHONE: +8821646685846.

for due processing and remittance of your prize money to a designated account
of your choice.

Remember, you must contact your claims agent not later than 31st of DECEMBER,
2003. After this date, all funds will be returned as unclaimed. All
correspondences to MR.LAWRENCE SMITH, either by fax or email, should have this EMAIL sent
along with it and also, your FULL ADDRESS, YOUR COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE and your
EMAIL ADDRESS to which this email is sent, should be clearly and BOLDLY WRITTEN
IN YOUR RESPONSE with your claims agent.

NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember
to quote your reference and batch numbers in every one of your correspondences
with your agent. Furthermore, should there be any change of your address, do
inform your claims agent as soon as possible.

Congratulations again from all our staff and thank you for being part of our
promotions program.



N.B. Any breach of confidentiality on the part of the winners will result to
disqualification. Please do not reply to this mail. Contact your claims agent.

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Yeah, that seems pretty authentic. First red flag: I've never entered an international lottery. Ever. But somehow, I've won one!! Yeah me! Second red flag: They never used my name. Somehow, the lottery knows the e-mail address of the lottery winner, but they don't know my name. Hmmm... I'm still ecstatic that I won the lottery, but that's a head scratcher. Third red flag: I'm getting an e-mail about my winnings. Hmmm.... why wouldn't they call me on the phone? Oh well, at least they notified me right! That was downright gracious of the lottery to do that. Uh-oh, red flag number 4: I need to contact a collection agent. I would think that I would need to report to a lottery office. Not an agent. Especially an agent who is using e-mail addresses zWallet and DoraMail. Hmm.... the collection agent has an e-mail address at the Doraemon fan site. Yeah, that makes sense.

Okay people. I'm gonna say this once: You are not lucky!!! Life is unfair! Bad people are out there attempting to prey on naive people. When you receive an e-mail claiming that you have millions coming your way, throw it out. It is a hoax. If you don't believe, take at least two minutes to try to verify ANY information in the e-mail you received. Do a google search on hoaxes with the title of the e-mail. On my first search, the number one hit led to a warning site on internet scams. It specifically discussed this scam. The e-mail I received matches their example almost word for word. For dupes who follow up on this e-mail, the person at the e-mail address then attempts to get you to send your bank account number so they can "wire your winnings to the account". Whoops, they must have accidentally put a minus sign in front of those winnings, because your account is now mysteriously empty!! So even after all of my warnings, if you still think that somehow you are the exception, please, please, create a new and empty bank account before sending out the account number. I would hate to think that you lost your life savings over one of these stupid scams.

So the moral of the story is, don't believe everything you receive in your e-mail.

Jade Mason