Friday, March 03, 2006

Immediate Attention Needed: Highly Confidential

Dear Sir / Madam,

I should probably say something about the unfortunate Internet duping of my Irvine colleague, Professor Emeritus Louis Gottschalk, which has come to light this week. According to an article in yesterday's Los Angeles Times, "UCI Psychiatrist Bilked by Nigerian E-mails, Suit Says," Professor Gottschalk may be out over a million dollars because of this common Internet scam. In fact, because so many seniors have been exploited and fooled in their online lives, the Centers for Disease Control now maintains a page on health-related Internet hoaxes.

I'm not sure that it's just a generational problem. I've discussed faculty digital illiteracy in this blog before, and this seems like a particularly sad example involving significant victimization that exarcerbated existing family financial strife. Yet it seems as though Gottschalk should have been more computer-savvy, given that he developed a computer program to detect hostility or anxiety, which works after about five minutes of having a person talk into Gottschalk's device. I wonder if Professor Gottshalk would be taken in by this George W. Bush Nigerian Spam Letter as well?

My personal favorite fraud is the face-t0-face, theatrical "Black Money Scam." A vendor who sold merchandise at UCI's ring road was charged in one particularly strange "black money" case.



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