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Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.

December 12, 2005

Thoughts About Torrents of Tortuous Dishonesty

Like many folks in the media world, I start my day by reading Cynthia's Cynopsis, often even before the coffee has finished brewing [it's free, it's good and available at]

Like anyone today who has e-mail ' and is there anyone left who doesn't? ' I receive a huge amount of digital information on a daily basis ' everything from the Hollywood Reporter to my CNN Breaking News Alerts. These form a conduit of useful information I rely upon in my daily business. E-mail is the electronic river of digital commerce.

However, with all this useful and desired information, I also receive at least a dozen e-mails a day suggesting that since I can't afford a REAL Rolex I might want to indulge in a fake version, available from any one of a number of websites.

There are regular appeals from the Ivory Coast to help an ex-government minister or an ex-bank manager get their money out of one place and into another [at hefty benefit to me] if I will only provide them with my personal information and details so they can make sure I am legitimate.

Yasser Arafat's widow has personally appealed to me to help her get her money successfully out of Switzerland and I also am receiving some hostile notes from a lady who claims I agreed to help her move her Nigerian oil fortune out of Lagos and into my account. How could I abandon her in her hour of need?

The British lottery is in constant contact with me lately to tell me about the fortune I have won in a random e-mail lottery which I never entered but of which I could be the beneficiary, if only I would give them my personal details, including my social security number.

E-Bay is constantly letting me know my account is in jeopardy of being shut down if I don't immediately give them my details. I just forward them to, which reassures me these e-mails don't come from them and not to pay attention.

So immured am I by all of this, I actually let my Pay Pal account lapse as I wasn't sure the e-mail was really from Pay Pal. I have been contacted by the “FBI' who also wants from me information that if it were really them, I am sure they already have.

I am not as plagued as I was a few weeks ago by folks who want me to buy Viagra from the internet though I am getting a fair number of offers for pain pills. Mercifully the torrent of e-mails offering my creams, pills and device to help me enlarge “my member' have become a trickle.

And the stock deals that fill my in-box and my fax machine! I am sure I would be wealthy beyond my dreams if I had only bought these penny stocks of companies of which I had never heard of from companies of which I also had never heard.

The friendliness and familiarity of these folks amazes me ' I have no idea how they have managed to become so chummy with me.

I have become adept at brushing off hundreds of opportunities to be scammed on a weekly basis. Who are these people? How did they get my e-mail address? It is part of the daily ritual of contemporary life that we brush aside these intrusions. I have invested in software to protect me; it is somewhat successful.

Going through my e-mail box, I am reminded that Barnum once said: a sucker is born every minute. Obviously these folks think I'm one. That I don't succumb is because I have some digital dexterity and have learned how to spot the frauds [I hope].

However, here is a great opportunity for identity theft and I worry those with less experience will fall victim to these tramps, gypsies, thieves who wander the electronic trails of our lives.

Shame on them! I hope their personal e-mail boxes burst with bilious balderdash and that the local flimflam man filches their personal information and gives them the kind of grief they are giving us.