Sunday, September 05, 2010

Paranoia Explained

I get at least ten phishing emails a day. You know the ones I mean. Someone telling you that you've been awarded, mysteriously, £1,000,000 and all you have to do is send them your bank account details so the money can be forwarded to you. Or sob stories from people you don't know who are stuck in foreign countries because all of their relatives have died in a plain crash, and would I mind awfully sending them a lot of money so they can get home. There are many variations on the same theme. One repeated intruder in my inbox even disguises himself (or herself) as a representative of the Windows Hotmail Team and asks for my details so that they can be verified. So forgive me if, occasionally, I get paranoid and don't answer a message from you if I don't know you. And if you're a poet submitting material for BEATNIK (, do me a favour and send a list of the magazines you've previously been published in. You may think my suspicious nature is getting the better of me, but recently I had a submission with no details attached, and the poetry was so unaccomplished I wondered if even that might have been an attempt to scam me.

When you're a well-known presence in a small corner of the internet, as I am, you attract thieves and pickpockets like cheap perfume attracts wasps in the summertime.

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