JUST WONDERING. Okay, I�m not stupid enough to think that I just won a seven-figure sum in the Australian lottery (for starters, I didn�t enter it). But reading through the email I just got made me wonder: How does this scam work? According to Valentino von Kahn (Mrs.), the �coordinator� of the Australian Lottery who �signed� the email, I�m to contact a bank in the Netherlands and give them the following information: name, phone number, fax number, address, and amount won.

That seems like relatively harmless information that anyone in the world could get in five seconds at whitepages.com (except fax number, but so what?). So how can that information be used to separate me from my hard-earned dosh? And if it can be, can�t then anyone go to whitepages.com and scam me, or anyone? How does this work, people?

Jonah, what we need is a virtual fence!

--Michael Tomasky