Correct response to people online trying to steal my identity. They want my personal information like my drivers Lic. to send me $26,700,000.00 in USD because someone I have never met with a name similar to mine died wealthy.
I am Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh Managing Director of First Gulf Bank in United Arab Emirates .I write
you this proposal in good faith hoping that I will rely on you in a business transaction that
require absolute confidentiality and of great interest and benefit to our both families.
In 2007,one Mr.Husson Christopher an Emirate Citizen whose surname is same as yours and has your
country in his file as his place of origin, made a fixed deposit for 36 months, valued at
$26,700,000.00 with my bank. I was his account officer before I rose to the position of
Managing Director. The maturity date for this deposit contract was 27th of September 2010.Sadly
Mr. Husson was among the death victims in the September 2009 earthquake in Indonesia that left
over 1,200 people dead while he was there on business trip.
Since the last quarter of 2010 until today, the management of my bank has been finding means to
reach him so as to ascertain if he will roll over the Deposit or have the contract sum
withdrawn. When I discovered that this will happen, I have tried to think up a procedure to
preserve this funds and use the proceeds for business. Some directors here have been trying to
find out from me the information about this account and the owner, but I have kept it closed
because, i know that if they become aware that Mr. Husson is late, they will divert the funds
for themselves. Therefore, am seeking your co-operation to present you as the one to benefit
from his fund at his death since you have the same name, so that my bank headquarters will pay
the funds to you. I have done enough insidebank arrangement and you only have to put in your
details into the information network in the bank computers and reflect you as his next of
kin.If you concur with this proposal, I intend for you to retain 50% of the funds while 50%
shall be for me.
Kindly forward your response to me.
Mr.Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh
Managing Director (Head of First Gulf Bank)
Me:Ok you need my Drivers Lic Correct
Thanks for your interest in my proposal. My initial proposal to you was to brief you on the
need to assist me so that we take advantage of the death of my former customer in the bank.This
transaction requires utmost trust and dedication from you, since you will be receiving the
funds ($26,700,000) as the Beneficiary Next of Kin to Mr Husson Roni who died on a business trip
to Indonesia in September 2009 earthquake. I am under the believe that my sharing ratio is
accepted by you, 50/50% is a fair deal. I want you to bear one thing in mind, this transaction
is 100% risk free and secured once you follow my instructions. What I have to do is just to
place your information in the bank system database as the Next of Kin to late Mr.Husson Roniand
As the Head of Operation of First Gulf Bank, placing your details in the system as the Next of
Kin to late Husson is an easy work for me. This is a very easy job with me in the bank it will
not last more than 2 to 3 weeks and the funds will be released to you.
As the Accounts manager to him , I have to take advantage of the situation to get the deposit
he has with our bank instead of the bank heads to confiscate it for their selfish use. They are
already rich because they get this type of business often and on
The information I require to commence the process is as follows:
1. FULL NAME
2. DATE OF BIRTH
4. CONTACT ADDRESS
5. PHONE NUMBER
6. SCANNED IDENTITY CARD
In receipt of the above-mentioned information, I will draft an application letter to you which
you will use to apply to an accredited Consultant to the bank of Dubai whom i shall give you
his contact details, am also sending you my bank identity card the deposit document of the
funds as a proof, But most
Importantly, I will like you to assure me that you will not betray this trust and confidence
that am about to repose on you.
Finally, I am hoping to meet you and your family as soon as we get the fund transferred into
your account for disbursement and investments purpose. I wait for your email.
Frienships online can lead down many great roads and adventures. Today I am going to concentrate on a few people that I have met online. I met Thomas Prendergast back in 2009 as a result of me being a customer of his former company Veretekk. I had called in to his customer support line with a concern that I wasn’t doing something right. It was a weekend and I thought I would be leaving a message and wait for someone to contact me. To my surprise, Tom answered my call and I later found out that he was the CEO.
After explaining my frustration to Tom, and a long very friendly conversation Tom and I had a connection. Tom and I having similar back grounds and a lots in common. Tom offered to mentor me personally in SEO and internet marketing. Tom must have seen something in me that I myself had not yet seen.
He had offered to me a Platinum Control Panel free of charge to use as long as I was learning. ($500 per month) It was then that I knew Tom wasn’t offering to help me for the money, he really cares about other and their success.
So Tom and I have been friends ever since. It’s odd the relationships that you can create online. I have people that I have met through the internet and though we have never met face to face, I would consider them to be great friends of mine.
Case in point, Thomas Prendergast and I have never met in person however we are now business partners in Markethive. Kathy Keen and I met through a business venture 6 years ago, we again have never met in person and I feel that I know her very well. Kathy and I have worked on several projects since.
Michael Ralph whom I have just met the month of September, 2016 and I know already, that he and I are going to be great internet friends. Michael has many qualities that I admire about him and I see so much potential in his future regarding Internet marketing. I think he will build a very successful business. I see drive, passion, and a great attitude. Yeah I think it’s safe to say, I liked Michael right away.
I have many examples of some really great people that I have met online, so if I have not mentioned you in this post. I still love you.
Markethive allows me to connect on a much deeper level because our social network allows me to connect to all of their other social networks as well.
Search Engine Optimization is a very hot topic on the World Wide Web. After-all, everybody wants to rank higher and come up on the first page of Google search and get more traffic.
Sometimes it is easy to get carried away with SEO though. In my opinion, the best technique is to keep it simple and apply a bit of common sense.
Most SEO plugins will take care of the common architecture related stuff for you. So in this article I will only focus on techniques that you need to do yourself (or be aware of).
I have identified and made a list of top 15 SEO practices that I tend to forget quite often. These simple SEO techniques, if practiced properly, can make a significant difference as to how my pages are ranked in the Search Engine Queries.
Use proper anchor text for inter-links. Don’t use “here”, “there” etc for the anchor text (if you can avoid it).
Optimize the images, always create alt tags and write description in the alt tag.
Use search engine friendly permalinks. Try not to have too many ‘&’, ‘?’, ‘!’ etc characters in the URL. Sometimes it is unavoidable but try to keep it to a minimum.
Use hyphens (-) between words to improve readability.
Do not use underscores (_) in URLs, use hyphens (-) instead.
Do not use session id in URLs. If you are using good hosting then you shouldn’t have to worry about this one.
Avoid using capital letters in URLs. Windows servers are case sensitive. Keep them lowercase so there’s no confusion.
Use internal linking when possible and appropriate.
Use sticky posts (if you can and if it applies to you).
The importance of a mentor and where to find them can be one of the most important tasks a business professional can search for in their journey towards success.
I write about growth strategy, execution & financing
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Why Mentors Matter?
Mentors or business coaches are one of the most valuable resources an entrepreneur should tap into. The idea of launching a business should no longer be a scary or daunting experience, riddled with unknowns. It should be a collaborative experience accumulating the learnings of the hundreds of local entrepreneurs who have already built successful businesses, and can help you move faster and avoid known pitfalls based on their years of experience, as entrepreneurs themselves.
And, what is great about mentors or business coaches is that they come in all shapes and sizes that can handle the myriad of topics that you may be having a problem. So, search for the mentors who are expert on your specific business size, your specific industry, or your specific business problem (e.g., marketing issue vs. technology issue), on a case-by-case basis. Unlike finding a long term person for your formal board of directors or advisory board, as I have previously written about, mentors are more like “hired guns” on one-off topics that present themselves over time.
My Experience as a Mentor
Over my career, I have had the distinct pleasure of mentoring many startup entrepreneurs. Some of that has been via formal mentorship programs at startup accelerators like Techstars, Founder Institute or Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. And, some of it has been informal conversations along the way, while guest lecturing university students or at entrepreneurial networking events. To me, there is nothing more invigorating than being surrounded by a bunch of excited and motivated entrepreneurs, and trying to help them achieve their goals of building successful businesses. And, I am happy to contribute learnings from my career to help them get up the learning curve faster and for me to give back to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, of which I am a part.
A Mentorship Case Study
As an example, one of the startups I met needed help in structuring a strategic partnership with the leading media company in their industry to assist them with promotion and building up an audience. And, modestly, who better to help them than me, who structured a very similar media-related strategic partnership with National Geographic, while I was building explore in the travel space. Having the benefit of hindsight of cutting a strategic deal with a big media company, I have first-hand experience of what the pluses and minuses of that relationship were after the ink was signed, and it was too late to change anything in the agreement. So, hopefully, this startup can benefit from my experience, and can write a better agreement in their deal, than I did in mine.
Do you have superpowers? If you want to be a powerful SEO master, you need them. The good news is that, to get SEO superpowers, you don’t have to be born on Krypton or get bitten by a radioactive spider (not that there’s anything wrong with that). No, in this case you must only apply yourself and equip yourself with knowledge and tools in order to beat your competitors. Let’s talk about the SEO superpowers you should develop inside yourself:
Lightning Fast Reaction
The faster that you can respond to a lead that has tapped on one of your exclusive Free Capture Page 1 click Widgets that you have crated within Markethive the higher the chance of you closing a sale. This is best attained with a well put together set of auto responders. Whats that? You've never created a set of well written auto responder emails? FEAR NOT
Its a good thing that we have set up an outstanding default auto responder for you in MarketHive. However if you want to really turn up some heat on your own auto responder SUPER POWERS we have free workshops to help you learn the skills to do just that.
You can have a All the great SEO content in the world, if you don't follow up its all useless. We invite you to come and learn to use the most advanced inbound marketing system put together by one of the greatest team of Internet marketing so that you too can learn to be an SEO INTERNET MARKETING SUPER HERO.
I’m not going to sugar coat it, sell you rainbows and unicorns or tell you that becoming an entrepreneur will make you instantly rich. And I’m definitely not going to tell you that it’s easy. Starting your own business is HARD. The biggest component to success is a high-risk tolerance.
I have repeatedly struggled to find my footing, pay bills and get everything set up before finally finding a workable formula.
The business itself is easy to create. I’ve written about how to quickly set up an online money-maker for yourself. I’ve even put together some ideas and specific examples for you to help you come up with an idea.
It’s the cultivation of the business that takes time and energy. No matter how great your idea is, it will not flower by itself. You have to nurture it.
And that’s the problem. Nurturing takes TIME. Lot’s and lot’s of time, attention, care and energy.
My goal is to help you harness the digital power to make yourself money with as little effort as possible. We all know the major themes: create products, share value with people, make income. But it’s not exactly a linear process, is it?
So how do you make a relatively smooth transition from corporate employee to automated/digitized entrepreneur without going destitute?
You have to start with the middle road: freelancing.
The bottom line is this – you need time to set up your business. Most corporate jobs have schedules that don’t really allow for the type of time you need to build content, products, relationships and skills.
What I did: In the transition period between quitting my job at Longhorn Steakhouse in Atlanta, making $2 an hour, to creating my digital empire out of my office in gorgeous Santa Monica, I worked as a contracted online freelancer. I got to create my own schedule, meet a bunch of interesting people, and do something that I loved (or at least liked a lot).
And the biggest perk of all? I could charge a LOT more money.
Most corporate jobs are salaried – so they’re going to max you out and overwork you for the same pay.
Hourly jobs can be low-paying by their very nature. The more money you make per hour, the less the company wants you to work. It’s a catch-22. But as a freelancer, none of this applies to you. You set your own schedule and you set your own rates.
Inevitably, this is where the objections start to crop up:
“I have no idea what I would do. I’m not good at coming up with ideas.”
“I don’t have any valuable skills. I just have my job-specific skills.”
“My market is already saturated. There are better people doing what I do.”
“Nobody will pay for what I know when they can just teach themselves.”
(These are exact copy and pastes from fans and readers who follow my work.)
What are your skills?
There are literally HUNDREDS of things you can do that are enjoyable and that other people will PAY you for. Start thinking about where you could mine your talent for freelance skill:
What do people consistently ask you for help or advice in?
Do you have any unique skills, talents, hobbies or abilities?
What areas of life have you excelled to an “advanced” or even “intermediate” level?
What skills ideas interest you enough to learn, and then teach to others?
Could you work independently doing what you do now at your current job?
Do you have any friends with talents that compliment yours? Maybe you could team up.
Best to learn by example, I think. Here’s how I did it.
When I first started freelancing, I was working at Longhorn Steakhouse (I’m basically a steak aficionado now). I was also working for Kaplan Test Prep.
My steak skills weren’t worth much. But my Kaplan skills were. I realized that people were paying $100+ per hour for me to tutor their student one-on-one. You won’t believe how much I was making…$18/hour!
And the worst part was…I THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD WAGE!!
Our perceptions are skewed because minimum wage is $7.25. So we think that anything significantly higher than that is good money. The reality is, $7.25 isn’t even livable. You probably need a minimum of $20/hour to make it out here.
But when I really sat down to think about it…I just got INFURIATED.
Here I was, doing all the teaching, grading, talking, communicating with parents, driving from school to school while Kaplan just sat back remotely and took 82% of my money.
Since I as the one with the skill, I needed to be the one making the money. I knew I could make this work on my own and cut out the middle man.
So I bided my time. I looked around, I made some calls.
I found a partner who was also interested in getting a freelance education business going. He was the consulting side, I was the teaching side. Together we knocked down doors, created classes and started making money. A lot more of it.
First, I quit Kaplan. Didn’t want any conflict of interest. Then, as soon as the restaurant started to get in the way of my new endeavor, I quit that as well.
When I quit both jobs, I wasn’t making quite as much with the new business…but the projections were giving me a solid indication that things would pick up quickly. So I just took the leap.
I have been developing auto responder since 1994.
I invented it. It was called Veremail.
Today after more than 20 years we have unveiled
a new paradigm in the automation market.
Markethive History of Email:
In 2016, email turns 45 and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it’s one of the most widely used and trusted channels for people to communicate today. It’s helped elect world leaders and has been the secret ingredient for many startups to grow into multi-billion dollar companies.
But the dark side of email is spam. While today’s spam filters do a good job of keeping junk out of our inboxes, many organizations also get caught in the crossfire of the war on spam when their emails end up in the spam folder. If your subscribers don’t see your emails, then they can’t open, click, and convert.
While the importance of reaching customers’ inboxes is undeniable, the reality is that many messages are missing the mark. This year, on average, one in five messages failed to reach the inbox. Global deliverability also experienced a slight but steady decline quarter over quarter, with 24 percent of messages missing the inbox in the last quarter studied.
With deliverability declining, marketers are missing out on building valuable relationships and achieving the highest possible ROI.
The Path to the Inbox:
Getting to the inbox entails more than hitting the send button. Below is a representation of the filters each message encounters on its journey.
Emails that are able to make past both gateway and spam filters are delivered to the inbox. Emails that are deemed malicious or untrustworthy are often blocked at the gateway, never reaching the inbox or the spam folder. For messages that make it past the gateway, spam filters look at the reputation of the sender, subscriber engagement, and content to decide if it should be placed in the inbox or the spam folder.
Measuring Inbox Placement:
There are many different ways to measure deliverability. In this report, we will focus on one important source:
Seed addresses were one of the first ways Markethive and email marketers measure inbox placement rates. Have you ever tested an email campaign’s deliverability rate by sending it to your personal email address? That’s similar to how seed addresses work. But at Markethive, we have seed addresses at hundreds of mailbox providers and filters around the world, and we use these multiple addresses to checks to see if it was delivered, and if so, reports whether it went to the inbox or the spam folder. Delivery, Placement (into the Inbox), The speed it arrives and reputation it receives (Images are active, no fishing warnings, etc.).
How others measure utilizing spying techniques
Another way to measure deliverability is by monitoring the activity of real consumer inboxes. This is possible through images reporting back to the originating server receiver’s behavior.
This type of data is different from seed data in that the data is generated from real email accounts that are actively owned and managed by real subscribers at AOL, Gmail, Outlook.com, Yahoo, etc. Through stealth technology, these image (scripts) are able to gather real world data and real world email behaviors. For example, if an email lands in the inbox or spam folder, these reports can see whether or not people read an email, reported it as spam, or many other hidden user behaviors!
We do not engage in sneaky image spy techniques. Others do, in fact Aweber, Get Response, I contact, Mail Chimp, Hubspot, Pardot, Sales Force and all the others do. We DON’T! We have a far superior solution that results in greater results for you.
Markethive utilizes mail servers running from the Amazon cloud. Amazon demands perfect email practices. Therefore, our technology solution for attaining “leads” (Name, Email, Social Network, Phone, Source) is unique. We reject the old practice of a capture page with fields asking for “Name”, “Email”, “Phone”, etc. accompanied by a Submit button.
We utilize OAuth technology and have innovated a (patent pending) solution we simply call “One Click” submission. No fields to fill out, no “SUBMIT” button to push, no “instructions” to open your email client and retrieve the verification email and another link to click on to complete a process that is not secure, and guarantees a spam trap free process.
Our process offers a selection of popular Social Networks to subscribe with. One simply taps the icon of choice. If the prospect is already logged into said Social Network, the process is completed instantaneously. “One Click” means just that. In that simple one click decision, you, the Markethive member, just received a true verified batch of date (Name, Email, and Social Network).
In that moment of decision, the desired results are instant. In the notoriously abusive option, each action allows the subscriber to “not continue”. A Name and Email Field and Submit button equate to 3 steps, then navigating and opening the mail client, finding the verification email and clicking on the email link equate another 3 steps with a minimum of 6 steps, each step offering the potential subscriber, to reconsider and stop the process.
The other serious problem is that verification email’s timely or delayed delivery and the very good possibility that verification email ends up in the spam folder.
I have timed verification emails from many legitimate services out there to take 30 minutes to several hours to be delivered. This delay guarantees a drastic loss of subscribers as well.
Delivery of email is paramount and job one at Markethive. However, we have already dispensed with the old school yesteryear process of email verification. Now that we have developed instantaneous “One Click” subscriptions, we now concentrate on delivering your “auto responders” and email “Broadcasts”.
Deliverability (IronPort) (Amazon Cloud)
Capturing your leads data, name, email, etc. is just half the job, and Markethive has innovated doing this 500%-1000% better than anyone else. However, delivering the mail is just as much if not more of the challenge and Markethive crushes it here too.
First off, we have the unfair advantage over all the others for one huge reason. We do not allow emails into our system. Seems contradictory, doesn’t it? We allow Social Network data transfer of verified data through the OAuth technology that has become standard in today’s Internet environment.
This means the challenge of spam complaints, discovering spam trap emails in the system and the constant defense of spam complaints does not exist with us. Because our process of acquiring contact data is 10 times more secure and 100% validated at the point of contact.
This means IronPort and Amazon see our quality process, never receive spam complaints or receive SORBs and other blacklisting notification. This is why we are able to send your email out within seconds and enjoy delivery rates above 99% into your Inbox, not spam folders.
Good marketing practices breed a good reputation. We do not engage in shifty and sneaky practices. We do not send email from our system with hidden spying images. We do not report to our subscribers what you view, what you clicked, what you opened and looked at today or any day. What we do offer, no others do, is a fully operational Market Network.
Like a Social Network a Market Network has a social component. Unlike Social Networks, the Market Network is a market powered by SaaS (Software as a System). Market Networks have intrinsic value to the entrepreneur at Markethive. Were they find costs like auto were we offer better value, and better results at NO COST for superior solution.
We spare no cost or discount any features. We have massive mailing servers, and because we are in the Amazon cloud formation, ramping up additional performance is automatic. That guarantees, you suffer no degradation to your email being sent within seconds.
We clock test our email sending often whereas whole databases in the 10s of 1000s are sent and delivered within a couple of minutes.
The following reports are the professional systems mail server admins utilize to monitor the mail. The following reports, from Barracuda, Cisco, WatchGuard, and Sender Score consistently report Markethive as a top performance, good practice, non-spam system.
Markethive Auto Responders are elegantly simple but incredible powerful. In the Email control panel there are only 3 levels to understand, setting up your actual autoresponders, broadcasting messages out to your lead databases and the study of your email broadcast history. That is it.
When it comes to managing your autoresponders, the best way to demonstrate the beauty of simplicity is to show you. (Put Video here)
With auto responder systems, many call each set of autoresponders a campaign. You may have several capture pages you are marketing and advertising. We organize our campaigns in Lead Groups. When a prospect signs up via your capture widget, that lead is stored in a Lead Group of your choice.
Unlike the other Auto Responder companies, we do not charge for additional lead groups or campaigns. You can have as many campaigns (lead groups) as you wish.
Our capture system is a state of the art system. It employs the One Click subscribe function. We offer hundreds of templates with many themes and many top MLM company themes as well. Other systems that are similar cost a minimum of $20 per month as high as $150 per month.
We are the only comprehensive free system. We are the only system that gives you a page widget so you can host your capture page easily on your own domain.
Markethive Auto Responders are built by the original inventor of the auto responder back in 1996. This technology was developed extensively the following 20 years in a company called Veretekk. Today, we offer you an auto responder system that dwarfs the capability and effectiveness of the entire industry.
Markethive auto responder systems captures more leads, and delivers higher rates and into the Inbox better than all the others, combined.
Recorded Workshop setting up a simple Autoresponder set:
Want to Be More Influential? Improve Your Social Skills.
Improving your Social skills is no longer a choice! It is a must if you want to be in marketing. Dale Carnegie got it right when he said that to win more friends and influence more people you need to improve your interpersonal skills. Twenty years of research on power and influence shows that people with superior social skills are substantially more influential than people with average social skills. These findings make sense when you realize that influence is not something you have; it’s something other people give you. In other words, you can’t be influential with people unless they allow you to be influential with them. So influence is in large part a function of your relationship with other people, and the rule of thumb on influence is that you are likely to be more successful if the people you want to influence know you, like you, respect you, and trust you.
It is significantly easier to influence people you know than people you don’t. So go out of your way to make yourself known. If you’re in an organization, this means increasing your visibility throughout the organization. Introduce yourself to people. As you get to know them, let them know who you are. My research shows that people are who highly skilled at being friendly and sociable with strangers and building close relationships are more than twice as influential as people who are less skilled at sociability and relationship building. People around the world instinctively understand this, which is why socializing is one of the most frequently used influence techniques globally. If you aren’t naturally good at socializing, then this is a key skill to build. Extraverts are often naturally good at socializing, but being an introvert is not necessarily a liability. You may just have to try harder to do something that does not come naturally to you.
Sometimes, you know the person you want to influence but aren’t as influential as you’d like with him or her because of bad chemistry. Many years ago when I was younger and single a friend introduced me to a young woman, and she and I dated for a while. She was a nice, attractive person, and we tried to be a couple but it just didn’t work. Somehow, we got on each other’s nerves and whatever either of us said or did was somehow wrong. There was no chemistry between us, and it wasn’t her fault or mine. We just weren’t a good match for each other. So it goes. In my three decades in business I’ve had similar situations with some colleagues and clients. Despite everyone’s good intentions, the plain fact is that there’s something about the other person each of you just doesn’t like.
I wrote in The Elements of Power(Amacom Books, 2011) that attraction can be a significant source of power, and it’s based partly on the psychological principle of liking. We are more inclined to say yes to people we like than to people we don’t, which is why friends are more likely to do favors for each other than they are for people they don’t know. So to be more influential, do what you can to be more likeable to the people you want to influence. Of course, we each have whatever physical gifts (or challenges) we were born with, but you should do the best you can with what you have. Good grooming, posture, dress, and manners go a long way toward making you more attractive to others. In business, as well as many other walks of life, these things matter. The same is true with interpersonal behaviors that people like:friendliness, generosity, warmth, caring, and acceptance. When we act with these qualities, people are more inclined to like us. Conversely, if we are pushy, arrogant, boastful, self-centered, rude, disrespectful, or otherwise annoying, people will be inclined to dislike us. Personality is a key component of likeability.
Being Respected and Trusted
Trust and respect are largely about character, credibility, and confidence. You build character through courage, integrity, reliability, and similar character traits; you build credibility through your knowledge, access to information, role, and reputation (of which work ethic, results, and contributions are a significant factor); and you build confidence by behaving self-confidently, achieving consistently superior results, making good decisions, and exercising sound judgment. If you are a member of a business or professional organization, people will also trust and respect you more if you are actively involved, engaged, and comitted to the enterprise. To become highly influential, it helps to be well-liked, well-regarded, and indispensable.
Fortunately, none of us is born with a fixed amount of power and influence. No matter who you are, you can become more powerful and more influential, and one of the keys is improving your interpersonal and social skills. For more tips on how to do this, see Elements of Influence: The Art of Getting Others to Follow Your Lead(Amacom Books, 2011) or my earlier book, What People Want (Davies-Black, 2006). Also see Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People, which he first published in 1936 but is still relevant today.
Nothing can be more difficult for a prison inmate than walking into the penitentiary for the first time. I know, I was once an inmate in a Texas state prison. New prison offenders often experience extreme confusion, fear and anxiety. The cold sound of slamming bars and hollering echoes as correctional officers are escorting you to your cell. As a reformed ex-convict and son of a loving and concerned family who stood by me through out my 13 year sentence, I am inspired to share my knowledge of how to survive prison. I know there are thousands of mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who are in desperate need of advice because they have a loved-one currently doing time in prison. You may consider printing out this article and mailing it to your incarcerated loved-one so that he or she is able to survive prison as I did.
Prison is what you make of it. It can serve as a beneficial learning experience or it can be a living hell. That's right; every inmate who walks into prison has a choice. An inmate can survive prison by simply following prison administration rules and respecting both officers and fellow prisoners. What every prison offender needs to understand is that you committed a crime. You offended another human being so in the eyes of society you are an offender and will be referred to as such by prison staff and officers. Nobody likes to be referred to as an "offender" but there's absolutely nothing you can do or say to change that fact, unless of coarse you are released from prison. Inmates who get angry of the way officers treat them need to realize that prison is designed to punish criminals, not pamper them. Ask yourself this question. If the life of your own brother was robbed by the hands of a killer, would you want correctional officers to baby the offender? Inmates who are blind to that reality and who expect royal treatment behind bars are either cold-blooded sociopaths or just too stupid to live. Not only do offenders like these (and there are many) make life harder on themselves by refusing to follow the direct orders of officers, but they make life a living hell for their loved-ones who worry about them. Inmates who whine, cry and complain over their situation are not ready to be released back into society. Society can not afford the risk of releasing back into the streets an adolescence-minded adult-criminal who may very well offend again. Prison officials have a place specifically for all problem offenders. Unruly offenders are housed in special maximum security pods reserved for dangerous high risk inmates. It is there where officers become the least of a stubborn inmates problems and it is there where one must now deal with dangerous adult gang members with rascal mentalities. So yes, you do have a choice!
TELL ME WHO YOUR FRIENDS ARE AND I'LL TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE
New inmates often feel the need to fit in. They seek friendship from just about anyone in prison. Choose your friends wisely. The least, the better. Mature minded convicts who mind their own business and follow administration rules are probably a new inmates best bet. Hang around convicts who keep out of trouble, who have productive hobbies or who go to religious services. Stay independent. You were born with two legs, not four or eight so theres no need to help fight your friends battles. A good friend is solid-minded enough to fight his or her own fight so if you come across an instigator who asks you to assist them in their conflict, avoid them.
IT'S ALL ABOUT RESPECT
Sometimes conflicts are inevitable, after all you are housed in an environment of convicted criminals of every kind. If you come across a situation where an other offender is giving you a hard time, try talking to him or her. Be respectful. There is absolutely nothing you need to prove so don't feed into their hostility. You are not a coward for avoiding a fight. You are in fact brave if you are able to approach the offender alone. Yes, make sure the offender is alone and calmly and respectfully explain to him or her that you have nothing against them and that you would like to apologize for anything that may have offended them. Trouble-making convicts are often egotistical so that may neutralize his or her aggression towards you. It is rare that this respectful tactic will not work. If it does not work and the offender persists, calmly walk away and avoid any eye contact with him or her. Ignore any insults and resist the urge to respond. It takes more will-power to resist a fight than it does to actually throw a punch. Walk away knowing that you are strong. You will one day be a free person after you serve your time.
HEAR NO EVIL, SEE NO EVIL AND SPEAK NO EVIL
Most, if not all prison fights start over gossip. Prison is boring so many offenders find that gossip is the next best thing to do. Avoid these offenders and their friends. Refraining from gossip may just save your life.
A STRONG BODY EQUALS A STRONG MIND
Exercise will not only keep your mind healthy, but it will make your body strong. Penitentiary bully's like to pick on the weak. You have nothing but time so release your inner frustrations with a lot of exercise. Avoid being a couch potato and avoid junk food. Eat the beans and greens on your food tray. Feed your mind, body and soul.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Read, read and read. Reading informative newspapers, magazines and books will empower your mind. Not only will it take your mind out of prison but it will make your brain stronger. A strong brain knows how to deal with tough situations. A strong mind can see further and the further you see, the easier it is to avoid problems in prison. A well read mind knows that one day YOU will be free just like me, a man who did 13 years in prison. So let the gossiping prison gangsters and offender bully's keep the penetentiary they so desperatly want to control. They can have it! You will be free one day and no longer will you be referred to as an "offender". Life will be good. Trust me.
Everything on the Internet is monitored in some way. Companies track what you do at work through deep packet inspection to make sure you don't wander into territory forbidden by company policy, or dump corporate data to a remote server just before you give notice. The Web pages you visit and the HTML-based mass e-mails you open are logged and tracked by advertisers and marketers. And your boss can tell if you've ever opened that urgent message or not.
But people usually don't throw it in your face and shatter whatever remaining illusions of privacy you might have, as someone did to my colleague Andrew Cunningham today."Oh, man, a PR person was just totally creepy at me," he interjected over IRC this morning.
The "creepy" was an e-mail that a media representative for a company called ContactMonkey sent on the heels of another one Cunningham had just opened. The second message included information about his location, the e-mail client he had used to open it, and the exact time it had been opened.
The message and the data were a demonstration of Bridge, a $5-a-month service that installs a plugin for Microsoft's Outlook 2010 mail client and for Google's Chrome browser for use with GMail. Bridge gives anyone the power to know those details for any message they send—or at least any message that lands in the inbox of someone who trustingly opens e-mails without blocking HTML-embedded images.
That's because Bridge uses an embedded graphic with a unique Web address to track each message. That Web address includes calls to ContactMonkey's tracker API, which include a message identifier and the e-mail address of the sender. When the recipient opens a tracked e-mail, it sends a secure Web request back to ContactMonkey's server identifying the message, and the server records the IP address that the message was opened from and the date and time. Then it pushes back data to the sender, including how many times the message was viewed, the geographic location it was viewed at (based on the IP address), and the type of client it was viewed from (based on what the mail client reports as its type when it makes the HTML request).
Using graphics to collect metrics is an old hack, going back to the "sprites" used on many early personal Web pages to track page views. Web request based tracking is also heavily used by both legitimate large-scale e-mailers and spam factories to collect information such as when and where e-mails are opened, and to test the "hit rate" for various subject lines and offer teases.
But ContactMonkey gets even more personal about it, because it identifies each recipient explicitly, and reports back directly on them. It's a technique akin to those used by some "spear-phishing" attacks to inject code into e-mails—no, it doesn't execute code on the client. But it does create a way to collect information that might be useful for stalking someone.
Sweeping for bugs
There's an easy way to block this sort of tracking with most mail clients. Microsoft Outlook, for example, will allow users to block embedded graphics in e-mails from all sources, or only display them in e-mails from sources in the user's contact list. Most companies will set their mail systems to block HTML-embedded objects in messages for security purposes.
Users of Apple's Mail app have a little less fine-grain control—unchecking "Display remote images in HTML messages" in Mail's "Viewing" preferences blocks all HTML-embedded images from loading when you open a message. But that's not the case with some mobile and Web-based mail clients—the iOS Mail app and Android 4's built-in mail client, for example, both open HTML enclosures by default. That means if you open a bugged e-mail from a mobile device, the sender will be able to get information on where you are based on whatever IP address gets associated with your phone or tablet, whether it's via Wi-Fi or your cellular provider.
If you do get tracked and discover it, however, there are some interesting ways to disrupt the tracking. For example, you could clip the tracking tag from the email and post it as a graphic or link on a website.
But that something like Bridge can be so easily blocked, and that it takes advantage of technologies that most business users may consider to be a security threat, should be enough to discourage most legitimate users from trying to use the service. After all, it's really just a sneaky way of doing the same thing that a Return-Receipt-To e-mail header does, without giving the recipient a choice. And very few legitimate mass-mailers generate their e-mails from Outlook or GMail.
So that makes Bridge the provenance of a very narrow strip of users, one that includes stalkers, private investigators, ex-spouses and high-pressure salespeople—and the occasional public relations consultant.