The Internet is now being called a “mature media.” Mature and rife with offers for erectile dysfunction cures, magical weight loss pills and clots of spam written in Mandarin, Cyrillic and Hebrew. These and a forest of marvelously entertaining lottery-winner announcements from abroad. Again and again, I am a winner in many lands, in many national lotteries, with every announcement seemingly written by the same moron who hasn’t figured out that an offer – especially those from British lotteries – should sound like it was written by someone who speaks English. Improper capitalization and misspellings are only part of the fun that included these incomprehensible words from J.D. Integrations Ltd. of Somerset, England: “We making an offer for 1 million British pownds ? but in view of our not having an office presently in that Continent ? .” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Who knows. Anyway, I tried e-mailing these would-be scammers to collect my winnings but my e-mails kept bouncing back. Still, I wasn’t worried because I also won the Dutch Lottery! They’re talking 1 million Euros, as certified – so you know it’s on the level – by “Mrs. Eava Van Boer,” who needs me to send along bank account and Social Security numbers, home address, phone number, date of birth and mother’s maiden name. I also took the Spanish Lottery, good for 2 million Euros! That and the Staatsloteri of Holland for yet another cool mil. Even more insidious than these moron attempts to shuck me silly is an actual lottery-winning paper letter sent recently to George Garven of Manhattan Beach. The Australian Lottery (mysteriously headquartered in London) somehow had his name and address. On top of that, it didn’t sound like the usual garbage that originates, U.S. postal authorities claim, in Nigeria. Garven, who is nearly 80 and a native of Glasgow, Scotland, is what might be called a canny Scot. Which is to say that the fit, bespectacled widower with a still righteous accent isn’t someone who might get the wool easily pulled over his eyes. When he received the letter telling him that he won $3,700,000, all the warning bells exploded. “I knew something was wrong,” he said with a smile, “because I never bought a ticket.” But what came immediately to the mind of this man raised near Glasgow’s closed shipyards during the Great Depression were his fellow seniors. “When people get older they can become awfully gullible,” said Garven, father of twin daughters, grandfather to five and great-grandfather to one. He is correct. Or correct from the point of view of someone (me) who gets a stream of e-mails from older readers wanting to know if the lottery winnings announced to them online or in the mail are real. They aren’t, of course. That’s because there aren’t any free lotteries, just like there aren’t any free lunches. That goes for generous offers from foreign corporations that want you to deposit checks for them, English artists who want you to cash their U.S. mail orders for a 15percent cut, people offering you a fortune to help them get a dead dictator’s money out of West Africa and anyone else hitting you up for cash because they are hoping you are gullible. Garven actually called the (since disconnected) number in London and spoke to someone claiming to be Kelly Royce. “I was just having a bit of fun,” said the retired aircraft machinist and former club soccer coach who started working at age 14. “The Englishman (Royce) on the other end congratulated me and even asked what I was going to do with all the money. Then he told me that they were going to send a woman from London who was going to take me to a bank to cash the check.” But there was a small catch. “They wanted me to cover this woman’s airfare by placing $1,200 in a special bank account. I said, `I live month to month, but I tell you what, once we deposit the check, I’ll give this woman $100,000 for her trouble.’ He left the line then came back and said that they’d do it for $300.” Actually, I bet they would have done nothing at all for much less. But that’s not the point, Garven said. “Some people, when you mention money to them, their minds go blank. But I figure if we save one person from falling for this, then we’ve done a good job.” Here’s a quote for you from Scottish writer John Galt’s The Provost, “In deed and truth, it’s ill (difficult) getting the breeks (trousers) off a highlandman.” Garven isn’t a highlander exactly, but you won’t fool the trousers off him. Nor should anyone fool you. I want to hear your comments. Connect with me at [email protected], call 310-543-6681 or send a letter to Daily Breeze/John Bogert, 5215 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503-4077. Hear my podcast at www.dailybreeze.com/.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!