Keeping Library Patrons Safer Online

Jayne Hitchcock here –

Let’s say someone comes up to you and claims someone is harassing them online. What do you do? I’ll outline some things to look for and advice to give your library patrons

Those Nigerian scammers:

  • They aren’t always from Nigeria
  • They always have a lot of money outside the USA that they need to get into the USA and want you to help
  • But. . .you need to fork over a “small” amount to get things started
  • If you do, you’re promised hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes millions.
  • Examples follow:
  • Date: Thu, 06 Dec 2012 04:22:36 -0800
    Subject: Our Partnership
    From: George Duke <>Hello,

    My name is Mr. George Duke; I am a dormant account auditor at a Branch of Barclays Bank in UK. While I was browsing through some of the accounts that are on hold in our database for more than 12 months, I noticed an account with a name as yours. This account has a pending $1,950,000,00 USD transfer that has never been picked up for 2 years. But I have immediately placed it under suspense/awaiting account with open beneficiary to be picked up via Canada or any of our Diplomatic corresponding payment offices including Dubai. All arrangements have been made so I have applied for foreign beneficiary form B release which was approved for fund claim.

    Here is my proposition: I have obtained the approval for international certificate (British Judiciary Clearance) that will be notarized in your name for the fund release.

    Treat as urgent and confidential if interested.
    1. A valid ID card/License number as my security for my money (share).
    2. A letter sent to me via my private email that states you will indeed send me my share after you take your share of $950,000.00.
    3. Full name, address and telephone number.
    4. A telephone call indicating yourself as the trustee.
    5. Attached photocopy of the cheque that will be issued in your name which will be released to you.
    Reply as soon as you receive this email and call me so that I will arrange for an appointment as well as your code to be issued.

    Yours faithfully,
    Mr. George Duke.

  • Date: Fri, 07 Dec 2012 12:50:41 -0500 (EST)
    From: “From: Sgt. Mike William” <>
    Subject: FROM: Sgt. Mike William

Important Message

Good day,

My name is Mike William, I am an American Soldier, I am serving in the US Army of D Company, 2ndBattalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, Iraq, as you know we are being attacked by insurgents everyday and car bombs.

We discovered some funds belonging to Saddam Husseins family. The total amount of money found was much but we were able to divert the sum US$25 Million dollars in cash, mostly 100 dollar bills. This money was kept in a
safe place for a long time now but we are no longer comfortable with it to avoid been implicated hence we want to move this money to you ASAP, so that you may keep our share for banking. You can as well click on the site
below for more details about the funds.

we are ready to compensate you with good percentage of the funds, No strings attached, just for you to help us move it out of Iraq , Iraq is a war zone. We plan on using diplomatic means to shipping the money out as
military cargo, using diplomatic immunity. If you are interested I will send you the full details, my job is to find a good partner that we can trust and that will assist us. Can I trust you? When you receive this letter, kindly send me an e-mail signifying your interest including your most confidential telephone numbers for quick communication also your contact details. This is risk free as we have perfected all plans to move the cargo out Iraq without problem.


Sgt. Mike William

Yes, people do unfortunately fall for these. BUT, unless they have fallen for it and paid out money, it’s just spam. So what can they do with spam?

  • Do NOT reply to the spam asking to be removed
  • Do NOT click on “Remove me” or “No more advertisements” or something similar
  • DO delete it
  • Or report it for free at

Is it really harassment?

  • If someone simply disagrees, however strongly or unpleasantly, that isn’t harassment.
  • Someone who sends a single e-mail message that isn’t overtly threatening probably isn’t harassment.
  • Harassment usually involves repeated communications online after the harasser has clearly been told to go away.
  • Cyberstalking is a specific kind of harassment. The Department of Justice defines it as
  • “the use of the Internet, e-mail, or other electronic communications devices to stalk another person. Stalking generally involves harassing or threatening behavior that an individual engages in repeatedly”
  • If it’s not spam and it is online harassment, have they clearly and politely asked the person to stop communicating with them? If not, ask them to send one email and NOT reply after that.
  • Make sure they have saved all emails, IM and/or chat conversations, links to message boards, forums, blogs, web sites, etc. involving the harassment
  • Have they filed complaints? Make sure they have sent complaints to the ISP(s) or web site hosts involved. If not, suggest to them to do this.
  • If they have done all of the above, then send them to us at, click on Need Help?, then #7 to fill out the questionnaire – it’s free and anonymous
  • If a free email account, such as Hotmail or Yahoo, is being used to harass, they need to find the originating ISP to complain to in addition to the free email service – we can help with this.

So, the next time a patron comes to you for help, you can get them on the way to staying safer online

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2 Responses to Keeping Library Patrons Safer Online

  1. Interesting info. Why did you say not to delete the message?

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