Friday, May 29, 2015

Does Anybody Really Fall for This?

Weird emails tend to come in waves. Have you ever noticed that? You'll go on for months without anyone offering to enlarge your member and then here will come twelve solicitations in a single day. The latest wave of fishy emails that I've been getting promises to cut my electric bill down to nothing. Zero. Zilch. How to accomplish this? Well, it has to do with the holy name of Tesla, and some other mumbo-jumbo, and then it involves plugging a magic gizmo into the wall.

Sometimes there is no picture of the gizmo, but simply a quote from some celebrity or other assuring you that it works. Sometimes there is the assertion that the electric company will be furious if you use this (as if corporations had emotions). The ones I like best, though, are the ones that include a photograph of the item. It's always something different. Here are a few, for your enjoyment.

The gadget above is actually a wireless thermostat from Honeywell. You can get one for two-hundred-plus dollars from Amazon. It won't do a darned thing for your electric bill.

This thing is a capacitor with two LEDs. f you plug it in it will save you an infinitesimal amount of electricity. It is also available with nothing inside but the two LEDs. See this video for a demo and teardown of the one that infinitesimally works, if you're not easily bored:

This appears to be an IPhone with a thermostat-like image on the screen. Or maybe another thermostat.

This gadget isn't what the spam email says it is, and you probably can't get it from the email sender, either, but if you got your hands on the article it might actually save you some watts. It is a timer that you can connect to things like the television set or the computer and its peripherals. It will cut the power to power-hogging appliances while you are sleeping, or away at work. Get it from Belkin, if you want one, or from Amazon or whoever. Be aware that it will not reduce your electric bill to zero.

Then there's this. What in the Sam Hill is this? If you have an idea, I'd like to hear it.

I think what these emails are meant to do is entice the recipient to click on a link. What happens after that is anybody's guess. They might sell you a bogus gizmo. They might pretend to sell you a gizmo and then steal your financial information. They might unleash a virus from Hell into your computer.  Anyway, don't click. That's my advice.

© 2015 Kate Gallison


  1. Also... watch out for ads that slip in under the names of bona fide companies like Walgreen or the like... I got stung for sending for a container of beauty cream for $4.99 this way and got billed for $300... their tricks are very clever and often impossible to get free from! tjs

  2. BTW, have not heard the expression What in the Sam Hill since my Girl Scout friends near Suffolk, VA ...where did you learn it? tjs

  3. It is interesting to hear that many of these scams are deliberately created to look exactly like what they are - a scam but why? The reason is that if the creators were to create an authentic looking post/e-mail, they would be swamped by too many responders that they would then need to filter out the most gullible in some other way. So what they do is create that filter from the start. If you are gullible enough to respond to an obvious looking fraud, maybe your more likely to fall for the next trick i.e. supplying your financial details.