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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

GIVE ME A BREAK SCAMMER

I am posting here an account of what happened to me in relation to an internet scam so that others may know and learn something about. I emailed this already to those who replied to the scam letter (I saw them when I got full control of my email again, and THANKS anyway to whoever s/he was for not erasing the emails in the inbox). Happy reading! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Dear Everyone who was written to (by i don't know who - the scammer) last Dec. 18,

Peace be with you!

First I'd like to greet you Merry Christmas! I was at Holy Hills, Wisconsin this morning and concelebrated at the 1130(?) AM Mass. At the communion time, one guy said "Father, tagalugin nyo po kasi ang tagal ko nang wala sa Pilipinas. Namimiss ko na ang Pilipinas." It gave me the inspiration to ask the main celebrant (I forgot his name, he's a Carmelite priest though) to give me the chance to greet everyone in Tagalog, and Chinese before everyone leaves the place. I did, and realized that indeed we may be far away from home and feel so lonesome, but the birth of Christ on Christmas day has made me realize He is family to us and wherever we are, we are home! May you be with those whom you love and love you this Christmas! Christ does love you, and wants you to feel at home!

Secondly, allow me to apologize for the inconvenience of that scam you received. Please read this account so I can have myself cleared:

1. On Dec. 16, 2007, that was a Sunday here in the US, I was at a classmate's house in Carlsbad, California. I remember having checked on my emails in the morning before Mass. In my gmail account, I read one which wrote (am copying here what I actually received for purposes of pedagogy):

Dear Account User
This Email is from Gmail Customer Care and we are sending it to every Gmail Email User Accounts Owner for safety. we are having congestions due to the anonymous registration of Gmail accounts so we are shutting down some Gmail accounts and your account was among those to be deleted.We are sending you this email to so that you can verify and let us know if you still want to use this account.If you are still interested please confirm your account by filling the space below.Your User name,password,date of birth and your country information would be needed to verify your account. Due to the congestion in all Gmail users and removal of all unused Gmail Accounts, Gmail would be shutting down all unused Accounts, You will have to confirm your E-mail by filling out your Login Information below after clicking the reply button, or your account will be suspended within 24 hours for security reasons.
Username: ..............................
Password: ................................
Date of Birth: ............................
Country Or Territory: ................
After following the instructions in the sheet, your account will not be interrupted and will continue as normal. Thanks for your attention to this request. We apologize for any inconveniences. Warning!!! Account owner that refuses to update his/her account after two weeks of receiving this warning will lose his or her account permanently.

I might have been shocked and scared, as I naively replied:

Okey, I am putting in here whatever data you have required. I don't understand why you have chosen mine when it has been very good and I hope I haven't done anything to disturb your system. Please check below the information. I hope I can continue availing your services. I just don't understand what made you choose mine and give me the impression that mine is "unused." I have very essential communications going on through this my gmail account. I expect your respecting my privacy and confidentiality of these informations.Thanks & God bless

Yes, I gave away my password!!!!!!! which I never did before in my life!!!!!

2. By the 18th of Dec., I was on the car my friend drove to Burbank, the place where I had to take my flight back to San Francisco. Azell Banoza, our former Social Worker at Sarnelli in Baclaran (she's on a training at north Carolina) rang me up, and asked a question which I thought I never heard her ask. She told me she had received a letter saying I was in Nigeria, and that I needed money… (you must have read it yourself already). Immediately, I remembered what I did last Dec. 16; so to race with time and whoever did it, I asked her to go into my gmail account, and change my password. In five minutes, when she called me back, I realized the email was no longer under my control. I felt like I gave someone the key to my house and when in, s/he locked me out in the cold. As soon as I reached my niece's place that evening, I checked my emails, and discovered that my yahoo account was untouched, and in there was the letter Azel received from my gmail account! I couldn't enter my gmail account as the password was already changed!! Whew!!! How I wanted to call the police!!! I called up Fr. Noel to cancel my previous schedule with him because I wanted to solve this problem. I knew I was getting into a mess which might have become bigger had I left it unsettled. Fr. Laput gave me the idea to email abuse@gmail.com and report the incident about my gmail account. Here's what I wrote them (this is still in my yahoo inbox):

To the person in charge of G-mail accounts,

Peace!I am Fr. Bernard Collera, SVD. I have received an email yesterday Dec. 18, from my gmail account berngu721@gmail.com and would like to report the abuse that's going on with this account. Friends have told me about this too, that it has been soliciting money, the amount of $3150 which i am purportedly to pay back when I go home. My classmate has told me to email your address so what's going on stops. I have actually written back to that account and pleaded that it be given back to me because the emails of my students are all in there. Please help me on this. I was stupid to reply and give away my password last Sunday, Dec. 16 to an email which purported that gmail was closing and that if i didn't reply my account would be closed. Sorry, but i admit that was clearly stupid (sorry for the word) on my part to have so naively given away my password. What's more disconcerting is the fact that I can't anymore access my two blogspot accounts, namely counpsychphil.blogspot.com and reflectscriptures.blogspot.com. Hence, whatever should be done so I can have those back would be the best. Please please assist. God bless

You may reply to me here since I can no longer access my gmail account. Thanks a lot. Take care
Bernard Collera

In a few minutes, the Google Team responded and gave me options. I sent them two more letters after following their directions, until I got to the site which asked for my Verification Number (which gmail sent to my secondary address upon opening my gmail account way back 2006). I gave as much information as I could, and even the right for them to "storm" into my account if only I could have my email back. 3. To keep this long story short, on Christmas eve, last night, while at our family Christmas party here in the US, when I checked my emails, The Google Team sent me this message:

Hello,

We have completed our investigation and we are re-enabling your access to this account. The account settings have been restored to the first name, last name, and secondary email address that you provided. We sincerely apologize for what you have experienced in this regard and appreciate your cooperation and understanding. To reactivate this account:…

I did as directed, and PRESTO!!! I GOT BACK MY GMAIL ACCOUNT!!!

I went through everyone's replies to that scam letter, and for all your concern, thanks a lot. You have to produce me evidence that you sent that guy money because he said he was me…if you want me to pay up. Sa totoo lang, sana wala akong dapat harapin! Chocolate lang ang maibibigay ko for you as pasalubong! Whew!!! Thanks The Google Team for all your efforts. May the Lord bless you!

Pasensya na po talaga sa lahat ng idinulot na kaba ng scam na yon. Takot ko lang talagang lumaki ang mga bayarin pag-uwi ko sa Pilipinas sa January 2008! HAhaha. Di ko po ugaling di magsabi patungkol sa aking pagpunta sa isang malayong lugar (formation output kaya ito?!); at mas lalong di ko ugaling manghiram lalo na ng pera (wala kasi akong pambayad!!!: seminary and family training output!). May this account let everyone who reads about it know

(1) what NOT TO DO and
(2) what TO DO when into what I went through. God is really GOOD! All the time! God bless--

Fr. Bernard, SVD

It's about 19:30 AM here as I publish this blog. This document has been first blogged in my other blog so that others get to understand what had happened to me (in case they might be interested). It's about 1145 PM Dec. 26 in the Philippines, so tamang tama gets nyo na to. God bless again and take care. See you January 4, 2008.