No free lunch

Repeat this saying to yourself – “there is no free lunch.”

In a world with scarce resources, very few people can afford to offer free goods or services to all who want them – at least not for long. Those resources have to come from somewhere. Someone has to offer a time commitment to obtaining resources. Whether in the form of contributed labor or confiscation of material from others, those resources have a finite point of origin. When an individual receives an email from someone in a distant country offering free cash, the offer isn’t valid.

No individual, corporation, or government is in the business of sending free money to a random recipient in a foreign land. They don’t know you, and you don’t know them. They didn’t draw your email address randomly out of the billions of addresses out there to receive a large cash prize. Quite the opposite. The individual who sent the email offering a generous amount of free cash pilfered or purchased your email address along with countless others. The email you received also arrived in the inboxes of thousands of other recipients.

Here’s an actual email sent by a scammer to lure someone into handing over personal information. Study this email and learn to recognize the symptoms of a scam.


To Recipients


Attn Dear Winner;

Your winning Price of One Million Eight hundred Thousand usd($1.8,MILLIONUSD) has been forwarded to Western Union for immediate transfer to you Your first payment will be sent to you by western Union, the amount you will receive per day is $5,000.00 (five thousand Dollars)The Minister Trust Funds of Benin Republic will send you the currently standards track details you need to pick up your ($5,000) payment by western union, you will receive every day till you receive the $1.8MILLION United State Dollars complete, now no need to send you this ATM card because you can not be able to withdraw with the ATM card due to the ATM master card contain large money on it and is not activated too and many people have received their fund through this western union which is safer and reliable with less cost.The Director administrator trust funds have already signed your payment, now you are free to comply.with wemaco payment office on this email:( however, kindly contact the below person who is in position to release your payment by Western Union per $5,000 a day.

Mr.Hilary Berry, Western Union Department Benin, Mobile:+229 68337352 E-mail(  The Western Union Payment Center has been mandated to issue out your payment and you have to stop any further communication with any other person(s) or office(s) to avoid any hitches in receiving your payment.note that the administrator payment need this details from you to process your payment:
Receiver name————-
Test question————-
Comply now because as soon as you sent this required details to Mr.Hilary Berry, he will start sending your payment by Western Union.And do let me know immediately you get your money for us to share the joy together.

Best Regards,
Terry Gerry”

If an individual responds to this email, the scammer will have that person’s name, telephone number, and location. It will also flag the email recipient as a valuable, gullible target. Once a scammer has this information, he or she will lure as much cash out of the target as possible, and then sell the target’s information to other scammers. Don’t fall for it.

Never respond to such emails, not even to tell the scammer what to go do with him or herself. Even without personally identifiable information, if a recipient responds to the email, the scammer will flag his or her address as a live account. The email address will then be added to a scammer’s list of active accounts and it receive even more loving attention from hungry scammers. Don’t feed the beasts.

Always delete these emails whenever you receive them. If you feel inclined to warn others about a new scam or a twist on an old one, forward the email to Own Your Defense (defender at for publication in a future article.