Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Scams: Sometimes It Is Too Obvious!

Last week I heard my friend bragging about getting a Job Offer as a regional director for the newly established branches of an "international" chain of hotels that originally operate in the Far East.
This company is in the process of expanding its market by opening in the Middle East, and therefore after doing lots of screening and short listing, they have hand selected "My Friend", (which is by the way a fresh graduate – with less than one year of accounting experience) to lead the company in its new endeavor.
Stupid enough, "My Friend" had sent them an updated CV, along with a photocopy of his passport (for visa purposes, of course), and to make things more legit, they also asked him to send two recommendations. He was also asked to wire 275 USD as processing fees including visa and work permit application.
I spent more than one hour explaining to him that he has been subject to a phishing scam and the money that is about to be transferred will be lost, and the company that is offering the job does not exist.
Phishing is an online identity theft technique used to trick users into disclosing their personally identifiable information. Customers are usually sent emails, pop-ups, and instant messages that appear legitimate communications. These Communications prompt the user to visit fraudulent websites which have been created to gather their personal information
An internet fraud is the intentional use of internet services to take advantage, deceive, defraud, miss inform and miss lead victims.
Scam or Internet fraud refer to the use of Internet services to present fraudulent solicitations to prospective victims, in order to conduct fraudulent transactions, or to transmit the proceeds of fraud to financial institutions or to others connected with the scheme.

Here are some of the Scams that I have come across during the last three months:

"419" Nigerian Scams

This is the most widely spread type of scams, Named for the violation of Section 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code.

Scenario 1: The Dead Next of Kin
The scam starts by you receiving an email from "An attorney or a Banker, or a Beloved Wife". Other than using sometimes incorrect form of English, in order to give fake sense of urgency and compassion, the author of this email claims that your super extra rich next of kin had died and you (out of 7 billion people on the face of the earth) are the legal and righteous heir to the fortune of 10 Million USD

Scenario 2: The lottery
Now this is funny: Out of nowhere you receive an email informing you, "CONGRATULATIONS", you have won the Australian international Lottery. The amount: Two million five hundred seventy three thousand dollars is yours. Kindly inform us of your full name and mailing address in order to send your check.
After you willingly provide the scammers with your personal data, you receive an email requesting you to pay around 500 USD in processing and clearance fees.     

Charities Fraud

You receive an email: Sally is small girl, she is suffering from a rare kind of cancer and she needs chronic treatment, if you would like to contribute etc … "I think you know, what happens when you donate".

Investment Fraud

You receive an Email that offers products and pitches that may sound tempting but remember: If an investment opportunity sounds too good to be true, there is a big chance that it isn't true!

Job Scams

Work from home! - Earn 1000 USD per Day, working for 2 hours only - This sounds tempting, but you need to pay 600 USD for the primary training session enabling you to qualify for your job.
Come on People, you are more clever than this; Consumers deceived by these scams have lost thousands of dollars, in addition to their time and energy.

Online Pharmacy Fraud

Happy pills, sad pills, sleepy pills, wake up pills, sane pills, pain pills, brain pills, Man Pills: S C A M  
And many more other types and setups that lead to the same result: Financial Loss and identity theft

Protection against Phishing Scams

To protect yourself against phishing scams, you need to:
  • Exercise little bit awareness when you receive unknown email messages
  • Show some common sense (come on, you won a lottery that you haven't even participated in!!)
  • Google the parties that sends messages, especially if the message looks suspicious.
  • You should realize that there is nothing as "Get Rich Quickly"
·         You should know that: if the deal is too good, then it is too good to be true

Finally, help your friends by raising awareness regarding this issue. Although some scams are so clear and obvious to fall into, believe me some people do take the bait.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, I just want to share a personal experience that is of relevance.

    Last week, I received 2 missed call from an unknown number, I called the number a voice with an accent said "hi sir, this is Etisalat (The main mobile operator in UAE), congratulations you won AED500,000. Please turn off your phone, and get your sim out and read the last 3 digits on it, they should read 639 (apparently all Etisalat sims end with this number) and call me back"
    I said ok, and closed.

    He made another missed call after 5 min, he said did you check, I confirmed and said that I should receive my gift. Here I asked why do you make missed call, and not call, if you are from Etisalat, he said they are calling me, but it's is an issue in the network (Etisalat is suddenly having problems with my sim only).

    He asked for my name, and nationality, I gave fake ones, he said that they opened an account with my name in Dubai Islamic Bank and gave me an account number. And then he said, one thing is needed more, I have to go to the nearest supermarket, buy AED2,000 worth of Etisalat vouchers to verify I'm an Etisalat user.

    I started laughing and told him, I will get them later, he said no, now, you have 15 min, you are on the air on the radio and people are listening to me as I speak.

    I ended the call by threatening them, and I called the police who took the number and promised to take action.

    Surprisingly, I was telling this story to a friend, and he told me that he fell for it, and after giving them the pins for the vouchers, they asked for another set of AED2,000 and another one ( they turn greedy once they capture a prey)
    They ripped him AED 6,000 and you know what happened.