Posts Tagged: ‘email scam’

Scam of the day – September 1, 2014 – Phone scams

September 1, 2014 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

Although so much of our attention is focused on scams perpetrated on the Internet and through means of high technology, a recent survey confirmed that low technology, namely the telephone still is fertile ground for many scams.  According to the Truecaller/Harris survey more than 17 million Americans became victims of telephone scams during the past year at a cost of 8.6 billion dollars.  One specifically telephone connected scam is “cramming” where fraudulent charges are added to your phone bill and often go unnoticed by people who pay little attention to the detailed information provided in lengthy, monthly phone bills particularly for wireless service. There are many ways that these unauthorized charges make their way to a victim’s phone, sometimes, consumers actually unknowingly sign up for premium texting services that may be for things such as flirting tips, horoscopes or celebrity gossip.  Whatever the source of the charges, they are fraudulent and typically cost about $9.99 per month and continue to appear for months without end.  You can find more detailed information about cramming by putting the word “cramming” into the archives section of Scamicide.  Other telephone related fraud occurs when people provide personal information over the phone when called by scamming telemarketers or to scammers who entice or scare the person receiving the call to either provide personal information or make a payment, such as in the present scam in which you receive a call purportedly from the IRS demanding payment for outstanding taxes.

TIPS

In regard to protecting yourself from cramming, you should never click on links or sign up for anything unless you have carefully read the fine print to see what else you may be signing up for.  In fact, you should never click on links in an email or text message unless you have independently verified that it is legitimate.  As for calls from telemarketers, not all telemarketers are criminals, but unfortunately, you have no way of knowing when you receive a call whether or not the person on the other end of the conversation is indeed legitimate or not so you should never provide personal information or payment in response to a telephone call until you have independently verified the call.  You may even wish to put yourself on the federal Do Not Call list to avoid telemarketers.  If you do get a call from a telemarketer after you have put yourself on the list, you know that the person is not legitimate and you should ignore the call.  Here is a link to the Do Not Call list if you wish to enroll.  https://www.donotcall.gov/  You can still receive calls from charities even if you are on the Do Not Call List, but again, you cannot be sure that the person calling is really from the charity so never give money over the phone to a telemarketer who calls you on behalf of a charity.  It is also worth noting that when you do make a charitable donation to a legitimate charity telemarketer, the telemarketer takes a percentage of your contribution as a commission.  If you want your donation to do the most good, you should contact the charity directly to make your donation.

Scam of the day – August 30, 2014 – New scam threats springing from J.P. Morgan data breach

August 30, 2014 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

As I have told you so many times, whenever something catches the attention of the public, it catches the attention of scammers and identity thieves who use it as a hook to turn that public’s interest in something into making the public victims of scams.  The recent death of Robin Williams and the Ice Bucket Challenge are two examples of things that have fascinated the public that were used to turn people into scam victims.  You can find the details about both of these scams in previous Scams of the day.  Now, the J.P. Morgan bank hacking is a big news story and it should be.  The data breach at J.P. Morgan and a number of other banks poses a serious threat to the financial well being of many people.  Scammers and identity thieves are now capitalizing on this concern and fear in the public to send emails and text messages to people in which the identity thieves pose as J.P. Morgan or other banks.  In the emails and text messages, you are told about problems with your account that require your immediate attention and you are directed to click on a link for further information.  If you click on this link, however, you will end up downloading keystroke logging malware that will steal the personal information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.  In another variation of this scam, you are directed to provide your personal banking account information in response to the email for verification purposes.  Of course, if you do this, all you will succeed in doing is providing an identity thief with the information he or she needs to steal money from your accounts.

TIPS

Whenever you receive an email or a text message you cannot be sure of who sent it to you.  Even if the address of the sender appears to be legitimate, it is easy for a scam artist (remember, they are called artists) to “spoof” or counterfeit a legitimate address to make the message appear to be legitimate.  Never provide personal information in response to an email or text message.  Never click on links in emails or text messages unless you are absolutely sure that the message is legitimate.  If you have think that the email or text message may be legitimate, you should call the bank or other purported sender at a phone number that you independently have confirmed is legitimate to inquire.  Don’t call the number provided to you by the scammer.

Scam of the day – May 5, 2014 – A pitiful attempt at a scam

May 5, 2014 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

Before I started teaching at Bentley University, I taught in the Massachusetts state prison system.  Among my students was a scam artist, who decried the fact that in his day it took skills to be a proper scam “artist,” but that with the aid of today’s technology, anyone regardless of how skilled they may or may not be, can become a scammer.  I thought of his sage analysis recently when I received the following email:

“Hello I am David this is to bring to your notice your ATM card has been release please contact us immediately with your information !!”

The email came from an address that was obviously not in any way related to any bank issuing an ATM card.  In fact, the email did not indicate my name, an account number, the name of a bank or any scintilla of information that gave the slightest indication that the email was legitimate.  Additionally, the grammar was deplorable.  All in all, this may be the most pitiful attempt at a scam that I have ever seen.  Obviously, what the scammer was trying to do was lure people into believing an emergency existed and they needed to provide information to resolve the problem.  Of course, this information would not be used to solve a problem, but rather for purposes of identity theft.

TIPS

It is easy to immediately disregard such a lame attempt to solicit personal information, however, many scam artists are indeed “artists” and their lures to induce you into providing personal information that would be used to make you a victim of identity theft are of much higher quality and more believable.  The key thing to remember is that you never can trust that anyone sending you an email, text message or calling you on the phone is who they say they are.  If you believe that the communication requesting personal information may be legitimate, you still should not respond by providing the information requested, but rather should contact the real organization purporting to be contacting you at an email address, website or phone number that you have confirmed is correct to inquire as to the legitimacy of the original communication.  It is then that your fears will be confirmed and you will be told that indeed the initial communication was, in fact, a scam.

Scam of the day – February 27, 2014 – Another Nigerian letter that isn’t from Nigeria

February 27, 2014 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

Today’s Scam of the day comes right from my email and I am sure that it has appeared in the email boxes of many of you.  Although it may appear that the Nigerian email scam began in the era of the Internet, the basis of the scam actually goes back to 1588 when it was known as the Spanish Prisoner Scam.  In those days, a letter was sent to the victim purportedly from someone on behalf of a wealthy aristocrat who was imprisoned in Spain under a false name.  The identity of the nobleman was not revealed for security reasons, but the victim was asked to provide money to obtain the release of the aristocrat, who, it was promised would reward the money-contributing  victim with great sums of money and, in some circumstances, the Spanish prisoner’s beautiful daughter in marriage.

Today’s scam of the day is yet another variation of what has come to be known as the Nigerian letter scam.  In the various versions of this scam circulating on the Internet today, you are promised great sums of money if you assist a Nigerian in his effort to transfer money out of his country.  Variations include the movement of embezzled funds by corrupt officials, a dying gentleman who wants to make charitable gifts or a minor bank official trying to move the money of deceased foreigners out of his bank without the government taking it.  the example below of the email I received isn’t from Nigeria, but the scam is the same.  Although generally, you are told that you do not need to contribute anything financially to the endeavor, you soon learn that it is necessary for you to contribute continuing large amounts of money for various reasons, such as various fees, bribes, insurance or taxes before you can get anything.  Of course, the victim ends up contributing money to the scammer, but never receives anything in return.

Here is a copy of the email, I recently received:

“Dear Friend,
i need your kind attention. I will be very glad if  you do assist me to relocate this sum of ( US$15.Million dollars.) to your bank account for the benefit of our both families.
only i cannot operate it alone without using a Foreigner who will stand as a beneficiary to the money, that is why i decided to contact you in a good manner to assist me and also to share the benefit together with me.
for the sharing of the fund 50/50 base on the fact that it is two man business note that you are not taking any risk because there will be a legal back up document as well which will back the money up into your bank account there in your country.
all i need from you now is to indicating your interest and I will send you the full details on how the business will be executed.
Thanks & Best Regards,
Dr Lahman”

TIPS

This is a simple scam to avoid.  It preys upon people whose greed overcomes their good sense.  The first thing you should ask yourself is why would you be singled out to be so lucky to be asked to participate in this arrangement.  Since there is no good answer to that question, you should merely hit delete and be happy that you avoided a scam.  As with many such scams, which are originating outside of the United States, the punctuation and grammar are not very good.

 

Scam of the day – July 11, 2013 – Email box exceeding capacity scam

July 11, 2013 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

On occasion I will repeat a warning about a particular scam as it resurfaces and today is one of those days.  I have warned you previously about the scam in which you receive an email such as the two that are reproduced below that I personally received in my email box today in which you are told that you have exceeded your capacity and that if you do not click on the link included with the email to remedy the problem, your email account will be shut down.  This is a scam and like many scams, it relies on fear.  The truth is that your account will not be shut down for exceeding a specific number of emails.  Most importantly you should never click on a link, such as contained in this particular email because if you do, you will only end up unwittingly downloading a keystroke logging malware program that will steal all of your personal information from your computer and use that information to make you a victim of identity theft.  Merely delete the email.  If you have any questions as to the email’s legitimacy, call or email your email provider at a telephone number or email address that you know is accurate to find out the truth.

Here are copies of the two emails that I recently received.  DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINKS.

“Dear User,

Your e-mail account has exceeded its limit & needs to be verified, if not verified within 12hrs, we shall deactivate your account.

Validate Here

Thanks.

and

“Mailbox Quota size has exceeded its Quota limit for the month of June.QUOTA-SIZE: 89.00%
NOTE: You will be unable to send and receive messages at 92.8 % .
For mailbox cleanup CLICK HERE Management Page.Admin Help-desk.
© Copyright 2013″

TIPS

These scam emails are both pretty shoddy.  They carry no logo of my email carrier.  The first has poor grammar.  Neither is signed and neither even indicate the name of my email carrier.  Never click on links in emails that you receive unless you are absolutely sure that the email is not a phony and never provide information to anyone who contacts you in an email unless you are sure that they are both legitimate and have a need for the information.  Even if the email appears to be legitimate, it may be a phony phishing email sent by an identity thief who has hacked someone’s legitimate email account.

Scam of the day – April 18 2013 – Hitman scam update

April 18, 2013 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

I have previously warned you about the hitman scam on January 15, 2012 and January 29, 2013, but I am doing so again today because this scam, which is still unfamiliar to many, is making a comeback.  Recently the FBI has been getting many complaints about incidents of this scam that begin when you receive an email informing you that the sender is a hitman who has been hired to kill you, but that if you pay him $10,000 he will refrain from doing so.  Although this is a scary email to receive, you should ignore it other than to report it to your local police and the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

TIPS

Indications that the email is a scam include the fact that is entirely lacking in specific details about you.  It does not use your name or other identifying information.  In one phony email  it is addressed to “Friend.”  In addition it does not provide any details about who has hired the hitman, where you live or any other details that would take this out of a generic, mass produced scam email.   It often contains much of the poor grammar found in many email scams originating in foreign countries.  If you receive this email and have any concerns that it might be real, report it to the local police.  If you are convinced that it is a scam, report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

For a sample copy of one of the phony letters, go to the Scamicide archives for January 29, 2013. It is a good idea to always check the Scamicide archives for scams that you may hear about.  Chances are you will find information there.

Scam of the day – March 4, 2013 – New Ghana email scam

March 3, 2013 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

It is important to remember that not all email scam letters come from Nigeria.  They come from everywhere and recently it seems many of them are appearing to originate in Ghana.  The essence of all of this type of letter is the same.  In fact, the basis for the scam goes back to a scam that started in the 1500s when it was called the “Spanish Prisoner” scam.  Although there are variations of the scam email, they all involve a promise of substantial funds for little or no effort on your part.  In this particular email, which is reproduced below my assistance is requested as a “reliable partner” when the email sender has no knowledge of who I am and the email is not even addressed to me in the salutation.   These scam emails may seem ridiculous, but they are still around for a good reason, namely they work.  There are some people who are either too trusting or too blinded by the promises of riches to consider this rationally.  Don’t be one of those people.

“Name:Hon. Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes
Email:honesekyihu@yahoo.co.jp

This is Hon. Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes, former speaker of the house of parliament Ghana.
I am in need of a reliable Trustee to help me receive my 1 box of consignments containing 11 MILLION GBP in London and Under the custody of the British embassy in Tokyo Japan.

This present Ghana government is an opposition party, they trying to accuse me of looting government treasury during my time in office and this is the reason why I need a dependable and reliable partner to receive the funds as my trustee to avoid any trace.
I am prepared to give you 30% of the total fund if you can help me receive it without any trace.

All we have to do is to ask my attorney to issue you a Power of Attorney and Change of Ownership certificate in your name while he will also handle other processes which he will explain to you.

Send me your passport copy and pictures so that I can know you better.

Hon. Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes
Email:honesekyihu@yahoo.co.jp”

TIPS

Never respond in anyway to any of these types of emails.  They are total scams and if you do respond, you will soon find that you need to pay money for various fees, bribes, or administrative costs in order to keep the process moving so that you can get your money.  Of course since this is a scam, you never will get any money.  The best thing you can do is to totally ignore the email although they can give you a bit of a laugh.