A quick check of my emails shows that I am an extremely lucky man. According to my junk email folder, dating back to November last year I have won the lottery three times for a total of about $11,530,000 (seven million Euros + $US 2.5 million), and received over $22.4M from estates of people I never even knew. So the grand total of my windfalls, which I am yet to claim, comes to over $33.9M and two Toshiba laptops (don’t these people know I’m a Mac man?). And that doesn’t include another 400,000 Euros I won via text message. I’m a lucky man indeed!
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australians lost $85.6M in scams in 2011 (yeah, it appears none of the lotteries, which I didn’t enter, were actually real). What I find really shocking about these schemes and the ACCC figures is that not only are there intelligent, hardworking Aussies who fall for them, but that the rate we blindly reply to these emails with all our personal data is increasing. Given the high level of embarrassment felt by the victims, the true figures are likely higher than the ACCC numbers. Boy, there sure are some rich Nigerians out there!
In investing there is a simple saying that holds true not just of investing but everything to do with money – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you receive an unsolicited email, treat it with caution. If the email mentions money, treat it with very high suspicion, and if it asks you to send your name, address, bank account numbers, date of birth, occupation, tax file number or an amount of money required to release much larger funds for you to receive, delete it immediately.
That there are so many sharks circling on the internet, you could consider yourself a lottery winner if you avoid getting bitten. In fact, I feel like I have won the lottery.
I’m a middle class white male, speak fluent English and have never fled a war torn country. I received a good education and live in a developed country whose economy is the envy of the rest of the earth’s 7 billion people. I am in good health and if that changes I can call an ambulance and receive some of the best healthcare available at the hospital just down the road. As a matter of fact I have been visiting that hospital a bit recently.
When our healthy baby girl was born last year I felt like I had won the lottery. I was so happy I bawled my eyes out for the best part of three days as I rang family to tell them “I’m a dad!” It is a feeling that just can’t be matched. Until, that is, it happens again.
Claudia has just given birth to a healthy baby girl.
I truly have won the lottery again.