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I must be the luckiest man alive. I just won a $1,000 Home Depot gift card! But that’s not the lucky part – no, the lucky part is that it’s the 10th one I’ve won! So far…

That e-mailed notice of a $1,000 Home Depot gift card joins the previous five $1,000 Home Depot prize e-mails I got recently, plus four more for $500. Yes indeedy fellow woodworkers, the latest version of the gift-card scam is targeting us. Up till now, all the gift-card scam e-mails I’ve received have been linked to Wal-Mart and, oddly, the Olive Garden restaurant. I guess we should be flattered they think we handy woodworking types constitute a potential market large enough to target us, but the fact is that these things are all just scams. And, I might add, Wal-Mart, Olive Garden and, of course, Home Depot have nothing to do with these vile things.

To be honest, most aren’t scams in the literal sense. If you fulfill all the requirements, invest a ton of time and effort, and make numerous purchases, you will eventually get your gift card. By that time, however, you will have spent up to or more than it’s worth. Plus you’ll have confirmed your e-mails to these solicitors, provided your complete contact information, and even given them your cell phone number. All of which guarantees you’ll hear from them forever.

If you haven’t gotten one of these Home Depot things yet, it’s probably just a matter of time. When you do, don’t make the mistake of thinking that it came from Home Depot in spite of what the link in the e-mail may look like. Just mark or flag it as the spam it is (your e-mail program should have a means of doing this) and instruct that mail like this be sent straight to your trash folder where it belongs. That’s what I’ve been doing.

Besides, I don’t need any of those prizes anyway. Any day now I should be getting a $9.6 million check from Rikobo M’blaan, nephew of a recently deposed Nigerian crown prince. He e-mailed me personally asking for my help. You know, I’d have done it for nothing just to help the guy out, but his modalities insisted that I take a share for my trouble.

And when that check arrives, it’s new clamps for everybody.

Till next time,

A.J.

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