Only scams bloom from this on-line 'flower'

Ted Hubert

The phrase "April showers bring May flowers" is familiar to most of us that fall in the category of the elderly.

But, listen up, April is not the only way to receive f lowers in May. You may get a bill for flowers you did not order or want.

The flower scam is circulating and you need information to avoid falling victim to this ploy. Presently this notice is going to America Online (AOL) customers.

This is the way the scam works. A notice is sent that 32 dozen roses were ordered in your name for $37.98.

Where could you buy 32 long stem roses for that amount? Think about it, 32 dozen long stem roses for less than $40. What would you do with 32 dozen long stem roses?

Do you think the con artist got confused and should have said 36 long stem roses (3 dozen) instead?

The bill gives the date the order was made and the method was via a telephone to 1-800flowers. Then a link is provided, if you want to cancel the order.

No one made such an order, so all that received this notice would want to cancel the order and would be tempted to hit the "click here" link.

Those that would like the flowers would not use the link and could wait forever for these flowers to arrive.

This tactic puts the victim in a state of panic. You did not make this order and you will not pay for it. You want to get this fixed in a hurry and you would like to get your hands on the person that made this order in your name.

You get mad and you want someone to know exactly how you feel. This urge to protect yourself is the effect the con artist wanted.

The more angry you become the more likely you will fall victim. Think before you act. Take a deep breath and let logic set in.

Remember the old count to 10 technique. It works. Keep your cool and do not overreact. It is not wise to hit the suggested link offered in an e-mail.

Those that take the bait and click on the "click here" link will be presented with a form to fill out. This is the trap. This scam is designed to get personal data from its victims.

Nowadays this is called data mining.

AOL made a statement for all to know. This is a scam. The 1800-flowers number was thrown in to establish believability.

The AOL mail will have the blue envelope icon, the blue border, and the AOL seal. Any correspondence from AOL will have these attributes. Failing to display all three is clear evidence that the mail is not authentic.

AOL staff will never ask for your password or billing information. Keep this in mind and don't let your emotions get you in trouble.

It is also true that the con artist does not know you yet. He meets you when you respond to the bait. Just delete these offers and forget about these thieves.

It's natural to seek justice or to get even, but these crooks are not easy to spot or find.

Did you order f lowers? No, you did not. So how could you be billed for it?

Are you an AOL customer? Then has this charge shown up on your statement?

Did any carrier deliver 32 dozen long stem roses? Probably not. It is like winning a contest you did not enter. It cannot happen. It does bring to mind what 32 dozen roses would look like.

Triad meeting

Milam County TRIAD is having its General Membership Meeting June 4 in Milano, open to the public.

Refreshments will be served at 5 p.m. and the program will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Speaker will be Texas Silver Haired Legislature, Speaker of the House, Walter Graham.

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2009-05-28 digital edition

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