“Trinidad and Tobago,” I patiently repeated for the second time.
“What?” She frustratingly retorted.
My initial reaction was “These Nigerian Internet scammers have become creative”. I’ve become used to receiving various scam e-mails with outrageous content, like “I am a deposed director of the Nigerian Central Bank. I stole 100 million dollars and I now need you to provide me with your name and bank account number to launder this money. If you co-operate with me I will give you 90 million dollars”.
This e-mail is different. It must be a new tactic. It starts with the heading: “The Secretary of the United States invites you to ‘Our Ocean’ at the US Department of State, June 16-17, 2014.” It sounds grand, too grand to be believed. Why would the Secretary of State of the USA be inviting me to anything? The logo and design don’t look very striking. I don’t believe this. What phishing scam or software virus is this?
My cursor hangs over the delete icon. But wait, let me google this “Our Ocean”. A link pops up to a page announcing an “Our Ocean” conference at the Department of State. The logo and colour scheme are the same as my invite. Is this for real? I message my colleague, Rick. He’s a respected marine biologist who’s done a lot of work around the world.