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I guess we should start at the beginning: what was the email you got? What happened?
One evening I was home from work and I was going through the normal procedure, I went down and I checked my email and then, in my inbox there was an email from an overseas provider I’d never ever seen before. And it said that I was the winner of five hundred thousand pounds... I couldn’t believe that this was true because I’ve never seen anything like it before. So I replied to their questions in this mail and sent my own confirmation about my address, my own particulars – birthday, whatever they asked for. I think there were about three pages there and I push the send off button and off it went.
What did you feel when you got this?
I was excited because the emotion that went through me was, you know, I quickly converted five hundred thousand pounds and in my own mind it was converted to an astronomical amount in my own currency, which was millions and millions in my own currency and I couldn’t believe it.
And you said it had a brand name on it, so that made it seem more legitimate.
Yes because it was addressed to me specifically at my email address, it was not one of these other scams you might normally receive that you send off to a number of people without a specific addressee, but this came to my own email address and therefore, I thought, well how did they trace me? So I thought this there was something to it. This is why I replied to it.
So you replied and then they asked for a lot of details…
Yes. All the details were you know, first of all of course, my name, my address, where I was born, what was my civil status – married - what was my occupation and my bank account details and lots of other information.
That was something else that made it seem real...
Yes I thought this might be true because why would somebody be asking for so much detail if there was no substance to it. And so I filled it in and send it as an attachment to my email and the same night there, then I thought well I’ll probably never hear anything of them again. The next morning and there was a response to it from another person. This was the one I was asked to send it to and he once again congratulated on my winning and said that my winning from this award had been set in motion, that they would be working on it and that very soon I’d be hearing from somebody else. I left it at that time, I went to work and I thought about it in between during the day and of course it was an enormous amount. I thought, of course I couldn’t be this lucky, but I left it at this and concentrated on my work during the day.
They kept congratulating you, telling that you had won but then what happened?
What happened next was that I was sent an email asking to send on all my personal banking details on to a bank in London in order for them to process the claim. I did this. It seemed very, very professional all the documentation I was given, all the account numbers because there was made reference to the lucky winning numbers to a reference number and some other numbers. The whole thing was set up indeed was very, very professional and I don’t think at this stage I suspected anything because I still thought I was really a lucky person. So what I did was I normally act very spontaneously and I send them off my banking details the same night and then if not the same evening, then the next day I have information back that my claim was being processed and they have received email and that I would be hearing from them in the next day or so.
The next thing, as far back as I remember, was that I was contacted by a courier delivery, also in London, and they said that they had received my personal particulars from the bank and that my courier delivery would take place within the next 24hrs. I remember that exactly, so of course I counted the hours and told my wife about it because until then I kept quiet about because I didn’t believe that this could be true.
So what happened then was that, just after 24 hours it must have been -- now if I think back it must have been three days after I received the first email that I was the winner -- I received another email from the courier delivery company that the money was being transferred and that this is it then. I sat down and I expected the courier delivery to take place because I gave them my address and everything and the courier delivery would be made personal to my address at home.
What happened then was that there was a lapse of 2 days and then suddenly I received an email that there was a stop order on my delivery. And I thought, well what is this all about now? I made contact to the courier delivery company and was told that there was nothing to worry about, that there was just a little misunderstanding at the moment and they would come back to me very very soon. After that I made contact with the bank to follow up and see what really did go wrong, because as I told you I had contact the courier delivery, and I asked them why the package was not delivered and the bank gave me a similar response to my questions -- that there was a slight delay, that I would definitely receive the money.
So everybody was still very encouraging that everything was still going fine and they were making you wait a little and they were making you a little more anxious and excited I guess?
Yes, what happened then, now I’ve got to think because suddenly then there was different acts that entered the whole game and that was from …
Had anybody asked you for any money yet?
Yes, sorry the courier had asked me for, as far as I remember £850 to make the courier delivery and I went to the local post office and I paid the money through the Western Union agent straight into the account name I was give by the courier company and that was it. And up and till then I could live with this outlay against the expected winnings I might receive. After I was notified that there was a stop order, then I received an email from a person in the United Nations, a person in Bangkok, and I was told that in order to receive my winning, I needed to make security deposit of, I think it was 14,000 US dollars. And then my suspicion rose. I couldn’t understand this, whilst I was making certain email correspondence with the bank, the e-courier company and the person in United Nations there, and I read about the anti-terrorist acts over the email and the web, and I found out that what they were asking for was a security deposit to clear me against anti-terrorist suspicion. Because this was all that happened after the September 11th incident in New York and I read an awful lot about this and really I believed in their story. And the papers and documents I received from this person in United Nations, they were lengthy, they were very complicated. And I went even further then because I dug into this, read all about it and I believed in the whole process. It made sense that after September 11th, this is the way that they prevent people getting access to money which can be used, against terrorism, anti drugs, whatever. And this is what I accepted in the end and after speculation and consideration looking at my financial situation, I went to the bank and I paid $14,000 to the United Nations, to an account which the UN had given me and the money was deposited into an escrow account -- an account which is safeguarded and will be retuned to you normally by the end of the year. So I thought, OK, the money will be returned to me.
So now you’ve made a couple of payments and it all seems very legitimate, you have a brand name , you have a well known bank and you have the United Nations, so they’re using all of these things to show that it is all above the board and to keep you interested but meanwhile they’re starting to ask you for money.
At this stage, I became suspicious, because I think it was a lot of money because I never really in the first place entered this lottery -- it was just something that came to me by email and suddenly asking me for so much money. I was now given the name of an attorney in London, a solicitor, and he had to conduct my legal business and make sure the money was transferred to my account. And that’s when really the whole thing went haywire. Because this solicitor was asking first for attorney fees of, as far as I remember of around about £3000 - £3600, and we had a lot of email correspondence over the next many many months. I was furthermore asked for processing fees of, could be about $850 probably.
Did you still believe that you were going to be getting the lottery pay out?
I really had my doubt at this stage but now was getting so deeply involved at the same time I was in a financial situation where I had a surplus on the account because I was doing a sort of an own building and renovations. So I took a chance. I thought, well I’m in the deep end now, so I’ve started off, I might as well finish it off! This is a peculiar situation but this is what has led me to doing something I would never ever do in my life. Because I’ve paid so much, I thought, I have to go the whole way through now.
So these guys are clever aren’t they?
They are very deceiving because yes, the documents, they were very professional made, I’ve never seen anything like them before. Because all the time I’ve been looking for the small mistakes, but I couldn’t see any -- the letterheads, everything was perfected to the slightest detail.
So now you’ve made several payments and they’re asking for legal fees, processing fees…
I think now we probably crossed into a new year and the courier delivery is going to take place now and I had another email from the courier deliver that it will take place in the next couple of days. My hope was renewed and I just wait that it was going to happen and nothing happened.
I received a stop payment order, because they found a new excuse: that the insurance which covers these kinds of winnings had expired suddenly, and now I had to make some guarantee payments to renew the insurance. Guarantee payments were to be in instalments of £3000, and each instalment paid through Western Union to the same person, which peculiar enough I did. I went along; somehow I found the money because I was already in the deep end now. And it’s shocking and I don’t know why I did it but there was no way back. I was just hoping that eventually I would get my money, which would pay off all these outlays.
At that stage I was at a heavy correspondence with the attorney in London, to and from, you know, he phoned me just about every day guaranteeing me that I’ll receive my winnings and there was always some kind of excuse. But I wonder now, after perusing all my files and documents, that the information he gave me on email, it was just two or three lines. He ever went into any lengthy details, explanations. He kept it to a brief and I never ever really knew anything about this solicitor or whatever he might be. At some stage I asked him to give some details about himself. I wanted to know, what kind of person are you? I eventually got it many months later. All the correspondence, I would say three or four months, between he and I, and nothing happened. I paid the payments and at that stage I had to go out and apply for loans because still I thought I’d receive it.
So they kept asking for money and then they kept finding excuses, is that what happened? So tell me about that in summary, of what they were doing.
What happened then was that probably at some stage I think I realised that Mr. whatever in London to give me a exact, a very detailed expatiation of what was happening because I didn’t believe in this any longer and I was given a name of professor of the FSA, in London, in which I wanted to have confirmation that I would receive my winning and my security deposit and all my guarantee payments that I would receive them back on top of my winnings and I got this letter. It didn’t look very professional and it said that against when I had paid for the insurance premiums then I would receive my winning five hundred thousand pounds plus forty thousand pounds on top of that which would be transferred to my account.
They were holding out hope for you and they kept asking for more money.
Yes I think this what happened
And then you said you had your suspicions but you also had your hope…
I was clinging to the hope because, you know, I could see the money disappearing, I could see my own financial situation was just about destroyed and the money was supposed to be for old age, retirement. So when it disappeared and everything, I was desperately clinging to the hope to have a happy solution in the end.
And then you said they were professional, then how did you finally come to a conclusion that this wasn’t right?
I started consulting with various web addresses checking up with scam activities and looked it up, different lottery organizations. I knew about the names and so on and my wife helped me too. She thought this was ridiculous the way I was gambling. So with her help we looked up all these lottery boards and we couldn’t really connect to some of the names there and also we found some mis-spellings in the words, but only a few. So my suspicion was heightened, but hope was still kept intact and alive because this professor from the clearing board in the UK, well, OK, I thought, must be a person who really is turning my fate. In all, this is what I was led to believe by my solicitor in London.
I received 2 cheques from the solicitor in London, one for £9200 and the other for £7200. I took the cheque to my bank, strangely enough they were cleared the very same day, and I could see the money was in my account Everything was in order. The money was supposed to go towards the insurance payment renewal. So now I thought at least I got the money for the renewal of the insurance policy. So I went down and redeposit the checks and I made the cheques to the account name and that was probably over the next months or so one of the cheques I should say was not from the lawyers but his business associate it was for £7200. I was given his phone number and his email address and I tried to contact him and I even received a telephone call from him but he was on business in Canada and he would be replying, I was very suspicious of this at that stage because the first cheque had bounced. In the mean time I had already made the payment of the £9200.
You had already made the payments...
I had already used the £7200, so now I knew what I was up against; because the first cheque had bounced I could only expect that the same thing would happen to the next one as well. This is what happened. I didn’t get any results out of talking to his business associate or my solicitor because I was told that there was still, I think £4960, if my memory serves me right. And at that stage I think, this is ridiculous that I have to pay so much money and the insurance policy has lapsed. I went also to the courier delivery company; there was no hope there. I just had to pay the £4960 and then this is where I stopped completely because I said, there is just no end to it, it’s a dead end you know.
So this is been going on for…8 months….it started very quickly
Well the initial stages in October, it took from then on ‘till the first courier delivery was supposed to be at my address in about four days and then it dragged on until June this year, so yeah its about eight months we’re talking about here. Since then I haven’t done anything because I know it was a scam, although they’ve tried to convince me, I received another letter from the professor. I think it’s called the clearing house of whatever, that I would receive my money with interest and security deposit etc, etc. So they kept trying, but since I broke off the correspondence I haven’t heard from them. I’ve been cheated the tough way and I’ve had my experience of a life time. I’m only telling this because I hope nobody else will go through the same thing. They are incredibly clever out there and they know what they’re doing and I was one of the unfortunate victims of this scam activity.
Did you go to authorities; did you go to the police?
Yes. I went for a bank loan as the resources had been depleted -- it was not my own bank, that was another bank and they said that this can’t be true. I showed him the papers and so on and they said, why we don’t report them to the police? And I said I don’t want to get them involved, but he kept on that he should do this and I said OK then. He phoned the local police and reported and the same afternoon I was phoned by the detective police inspection officer. He asked me if I would come for an interview at the police station and could I bring some papers along. I did this and what happened is that I spend a couple of hours at the police station.
So you went to the authorities and how that all happened maybe what did they say to you?
The police inspector he was shocked when I showed him the papers and his initial reaction was disbelief that someone my age, a retired person, could go out and spend this much money and so on, and this kind of activity. So we end up sitting down, going through all my Western Union account slips, the numbers and so on and we came up with the amount of money I had paid out. It was a lot of money.
What did he think when he saw all the papers and the documentation that they have sent you?
What he said was, this was certainly a scam because they have heard a lot about this before, and they have heard of other people being up against the same kind of stories, being cheated in the internet. He said, we will do our best in solving this and will get in contact with some of our partners around the world and in London, especially I think, in New York. I am not sure about their contacts. In the end the summary of my report was written by the police inspector. It was left at this. I didn’t do anymore about it. I thought this is it. I want to get back to a normal life now. Because it really has destroyed me health wise and economically wise, you know, it was a bad experience.
I was stressed at that time, because it was the first time in my life… the thing is I thought it was a true success story because whatever I received on the email was so professional and they deliberately manipulated, and it appeared like it was the real thing… and right now sitting and speaking about it I think it could be true and the money will eventually come to me. And I know, unfortunately, I don’t think so because I realize how clever people they are deceiving other people. Manipulating things and thinking of different ways of doing this. They are top professionals doing this and they are operating from a range of setup companies I believe. People in different locations. In different countries. A whole set of people, companies… so called companies… they all work together in one big huge set up.
It’s like organized crime…
Yes, it is! It is organized crime. And this is what I have since realized. I have been on the web and looked it up and I have seen how many scam lottery organizations operate on the internet there and they reflect the real big organization lotteries and so on, so you don’t know which one to believe is true, which one is false. It’s one big set- up there. It’s the wilderness!
So what would your message be to people who may get those kind of emails and be told that they have won all sorts of money? What would you tell them to look out for?
I would advise people to just stay away, because the lottery, and this is what I have told to a few about my experience, they all said stay away from it. Because if you haven’t put any money in the lottery, stay away from it! I didn’t think that way unfortunately at that stage. But it’s quite true; if you haven’t actually entered the lottery, then it cannot be true. Especially with the huge amounts that I have been paying. This is one big set-up, organized crime. So stay far away from it because you only stand to lose in the end. This is my bad experience and I hope somebody else will learn from it. This is why I am telling this.
It’s been an amazing story. We appreciate your time. Thank you.
As a team, we’ve spent the last year heads down working hard on IE8. Last week, we achieved an important milestone that should interest web developers. IE8 now renders the “Acid2 Face” correctly in IE8 standards mode.
If you’re not a web developer, the details of this blog post probably aren’t all that interesting for you. I’d like you to know that we’re building IE8 for many different customers (consumers, web service providers, independent software vendors, enterprises, web developers, and others), and we’ll cover more details of the non-developer oriented work (e.g. user experience, reliability, security, etc.) in other posts in the future, after MIX.
While web developers will immediately recognize what Acid2 means, I want to step back and offer some context for other readers of this blog who may not be familiar with web standards. Briefly: Acid2 is one test of how modern browsers work with some specific features across several different web standards.
At first glance, this test seems simple. I think it actually offers a view into the subtle and complex world of web standards in a number of ways. Showing the Acid2 page correctly is a good indication of being standards compliant, but Acid2 itself isn’t a web standard or a web standards compliance test. The publisher of the test, the Web Standards Project, is an advocacy group, not a web standards defining body.
When we look at the long lists of standards (even from just one standards body, like the W3C), which standards are the most important for us to support? The web has many kinds of standards – true industry standards, like those from the W3C, de facto standards, unilateral standards, open standards, and more. Some standards like RSS or OpenSearch lack a formal standards body yet work pretty well today across multiple implementations. Many advances in web technologies, like the img tag, start out as unilateral extensions by a vendor. The X in AJAX, for example, has only started the formal standardization process relatively recently. As some comments have pointed out, CSS 2.1, one of the key standards that Acid2 exercises, is not “finalized” yet. Different individuals have different opinions about different standards. The important thing about the Acid2 test is that it reflects what one particular group of smart people “consider most important for the future of the web.”
The key goal (for the Web Standards Project as well as many other groups and individuals) is interoperability. As a developer, I’d prefer to not have to write the same site multiple times for different browsers. Standards are a (critical!) means to this end, and we focus on the standards that will help actual, real-world interoperability the most. As a consumer and a developer, I expect stuff to just work, and I also expect backwards compatibility. When I get a new version of my current browser, I expect all the sites that worked before will still work.
With respect to standards and interoperability, our goal in developing Internet Explorer 8 is to support the right set of standards with excellent implementations and do so without breaking the existing web. This second goal refers to the lessons we learned during IE 7. IE7’s CSS improvements made IE more compliant with some standards and less compatible with some sites on the web as they were coded. Many sites and developers have done special work to work well with IE6, mostly as a result of the evolution of the web and standards since 2001 and the level of support in the various versions of IE that pre-date many standards. We have a responsibility to respect the work that sites have already done to work with IE. We must deliver improved standards support and backwards compatibility so that IE8 (1) continues to work with the billions of pages on the web today that already work in IE6 and IE7 and (2) makes the development of the next billion pages, in an interoperable way, much easier. We’ll blog more, and learn more, about this during the IE8 beta cycle.
Now, with all that context, I’m delighted to tell you that on Wednesday, December 12, Internet Explorer correctly rendered the Acid2 page in IE8 standards mode. While supporting the features tested in Acid2 is important for many reasons, it is just one of several milestones for the interoperability, standards compliance, and backwards compatibility that we’re committed to for this release. We will blog more on these topics. Here’s a relevant video.
For IE8, we want to communicate facts, not aspirations. We’re posting this information now because we have real working code checked in and we’re confident about delivering it in the final product. We’re listening to the feedback about IE, and at the same time, we are committed to responsible disclosure and setting expectations properly. Now that we’ve run the test on multiple machines and seen it work, we’re excited to be able to share definitive information.
While blog posts and links to videos are a good start, publicly available code is even better. We will have a lot more information available at sessions at MIX08 and will release a beta of IE8 in the first half of calendar 2008.
Watch out San Jose, the 2008 Microsoft® Office System Developer Conference is coming to town!
The 2008 Microsoft Office System Developer Conference (ODC 2008) is only 9 weeks away and shaping up to be an exciting event that will redefine what Office development is all about!
February 10-13, 2008
San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, California
Developers, Developers, Developers
The Office Platform. Clients, servers, services and tools.
ODC 2008 is the premier event for Microsoft Office developers, bringing together architects, developers, industry technical experts, Microsoft insiders, and key partners in a public forum to redefine what it means to be focused on 2007 Microsoft® Office system development.
We have an incredible six keynotes by senior Microsoft executives. Of course, live code and demos will be the order of the day, and we will be presenting hot new sessions that bring together diverse topics, from composition to S+S, SharePoint to VOIP, OOXML to Silverlight, and everything in between!
We have 5 technical tracks, and 70+ breakout sessions and hands-on labs. And for the first time ever, we will have an Executive Track where analysts, Microsoft and industry executives will get together to learn the how and why of Office applications and the competitive advantage offered by them.
This event is destined to be the hottest event of the winter. But we need your help to get the word out and get our community of Office developers to feed their geek in San Jose!
Check out our ODC 2008 Blog for what’s happening on a daily basis
General Session Keynote: Microsoft Chairman, William H. Gates
Additional keynotes by
o Chris Capossela, CVP, Microsoft Business Division Product Management Group
o Kurt DelBene, CVP Microsoft Office Business Platform Group
o Rajesh Jha CVP, Office Live
o Richard McAniff, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Office
o Gurdeep Singh Pall, Corporate Vice President, Unified Communications Group – MS
ODC Tracks and Blogs
ODC tracks are all owned by Office product managers; check out all the latest information on their breakout sessions, code & demos.
· ODC Team Blog – Join the blog
· Karthik’s Track - Architecture - Join the blog
· Steve’s Track - Client – Join the blog
· Jerome’s Track - Server – Join the blog
· Rob’s Track - Services – Join the blog
· John’s Track - Real World – Join the blog
· Office Development Executive Track - Join the blog
We have 70+ innovative sessions and labs planned. Here’s just a sampling:
- Building Mashups With Office Live Small Business
- Software+Services Blueprints
- Integrating VBA Macro and .NET Managed Code
- Integrating WPF & WCF into Your Office Applications
- Develop Business Insight with SharePoint 2007
- Building Composite Business Solutions on the Office Platform
- BPM Solution Patterns
- Generating Enterprise Content using InfoPath 2007, SharePoint and Open XML Formats
- Building Manageable Data Applications on SharePoint with Access 2007
- Connecting back end iSeries, AS/400 and IBM mainframes to Office
- Enabling a Better SharePoint Solution SDLC
- Best Practices in SharePoint Component Deployment
- Building IM- and Speech-Based Applications
And many more! Visit www.odc2008.com track owner blogs for details.
Awards, Contests, and More!
From novices to experts, and developers to partners, ODC 2008 will keep everyone engaged and challenged!
Developer “Sleepless” Contest
Sleepless Office Developer Competitions will spice up the New Year and ODC 2008. Over $50,000 in prizes will be given away!
Top developers will be invited to apply for a hard core “Sleepless” event near them in January 2008 to compete all night to create the best and most exciting solution for the Office platform. Winning teams will compete at ODC 2008 in San Jose, CA for fabulous prize packages and the Sleepless National Championship Title!
Attendee party, Game lounge, Segway test track… need we say more? J
Join the revolution this February in the heart of Silicon Valley at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, Calif., and help craft the next generation of applications built on the Microsoft Office system.
The Microsoft Office System Developer Conference 2008 Team