A fool and his money

We all get them. Those junk |E-mail messages that promise virility, or wealth, or refurbished ink-jet cartridges, simply by sending cash to a rather shady looking address. And, we all wonder: Who goes for these things?

Well, according to news reports, at least one person has been suckered into one of those messages – in this case, from a deposed African king. And we’re not talking about a few bucks here.

The son of a prominent California psychiatrist recently stopped his father from spending any more of the family fortune on a Nigerian Internet scam in which the son claims as much as US$3 million was lost. Dr. Guy Gottschalk won a court order preventing his father, Louis, the founding chairman of the department of psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine, from wiring more money to Nigeria.

According to the son’s lawsuit, his father gave the money over a period of 10 years in response to an online plea that promised the doctor a generous cut of a huge sum of cash trapped in African bank accounts in exchange for money advances.

According to court papers, Louis first responded to the solicitations from Nigeria in 1995. A year later, he travelled to Africa to meet “The General” and other Nigerians “to show them that he was sincere so he would get the money.” After this visit, the FBI conducted an investigation and concluded that Gottschalk Sr. had been the victim of a scam, losing around US$300,000.

The elder Gottschalk gained national prominence in 1987 by announcing that U.S. President Ronald Reagan had been suffering from diminished mental ability as early as 1980. This begs the question: Is there irony at play here?

US Secret Service steals PC over a song

Moving from the FBI to the CIA – and from Reagan to George W. Bush – a North Carolina college freshman, Tim Willis, has lost his computer because of a song parody about the current U.S. President.

According to news reports, Secret Service agents seized Willis’ computer after he posted lyrics on the myspace.com Web site. The Mars Hill College student changed the lyrics of the punk rock song Bullet to refer to a fictional assassination attempt.

Willis was quoted as saying that he didn’t mean any harm, but admits he’s no fan of the president. Way to win him over, George W.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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