Category Archives: Hoaxes

When a purchase order email is not what it seems

Image By: Ian Lamont
Image By: Ian Lamont

Today’s award for the least convincing spam message goes to the “purchase order” I received. The funny thing is I don’t sell anything so I’m not sure how it could possibly pertain to me. It just goes to show they grab, harvest or purchase email addresses and then send them out in bulk, sort of like fishing with a bucket of bait. With that much bait you are sure to catch something.

If you receive something like this one, which also has a “zip” file to download my suggestion is to send it to spam and keep going. What are the keys to knowing this isn’t a real purchase interest?

  1. It was in my spam folder – which I do check regularly since sometimes items are mistakenly marked as spam.
  2. The problems with grammar and punctuation.
  3. The fact that I don’t sell any items.
  4. And, that it’s “near” somewhere in Egypt.
  5. That it has a zip file. Beware of downloadable files, links, and images, especially those that come from those you don’t know.

Sample Email below

A dead giveaway is when my spam filler has this in the RE:

****SPAM**** HIGH * Purchase order-
Dear Sir

We are interested to Purchase your product, i got your contact information

from two of our customers.

Please contact us with the following below:-

– Your minimum order quantity.

– Your FOB Prices and FOB Port.

– Your estimated delivery time.

Please fine attached company details and requirements below to preview the samples/specifications needed.

Best Regard
—————————————————————————————————————–
GMCC LTD  IMPORT & EXPORT
Address deleted
Sheraton Bldgs. Heliopolis,Cairo
Landmark:Near To Radisson Blu Cairo Egypt

The FBI wants to know my preferred payment method

Image By: Ian Lamont provided by Flickr

Here’s one of the more interesting messages that my spam folder caught this week. Apparently there’s some money the Federal Bureau of Investigations just can’t wait to give me.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Anti-Terrorist And Monitory Crime Division.

Federal Bureau Of Investigation. INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUNDS

J.Edgar.Hoover Building Washington Dc

Customers Service Hours / Monday To Saturday Office Hours Monday to Saturday:

Dear Beneficiary, Series of meetings have been held over the past 7 months with the secretary general of the United Nations Organization. This ended 3 days ago. It is obvious that you have not received your fund which is to the tune of $2.3million Usd due to past corrupt Governmental Officials who almost held the fund to themselves for their selfish reason and some individuals who have taken advantage of your fund all in an attempt to swindle your fund which has led to so many losses from your end and unnecessary delay in the receipt of your fund. The National Central Bureau of Interpol enhanced by the United Nations and Federal Bureau of Investigation and the International monetary funds have successfully passed a mandate to the current president of Nigeria his Excellency President Good luck Jonathan to boost the exercise of clearing all foreign debts owed to you and other individuals and organizations who have been found not to have receive their Contract Sum, Lottery/Gambling, Inheritance and the likes.

Now how would you like to receive your payment? Because we have two method of payment which is by Check or by ATM card?

ATM Card: We will be issuing you a custom pin based ATM card which you will use to withdraw up to $3,000 per day from any ATM machine that has the Master Card Logo on it and the card have to be renewed in 4 years time which is 2015. Also with the ATM card you will be able to transfer your funds to your local bank account. The ATM card comes with a handbook or manual to enlighten you about how to use it. Even if you do not have a bank account.

Check: To be deposited in your bank for it to be cleared within three working days. Your payment would be sent to you via any of your preferred option and would be mailed to you via UPS. Because we have signed a contract with UPS which should expire in the next three weeks you will only need to pay $280 instead of $620 saving you $340 So if you pay before the three weeks you save $340 Take note that anyone asking you for some kind of money above the usual fee is definitely a fraudsters and you will have to stop any communication with every other person if you have been in contact with any. Also remember that all you will ever have to spend is $280.00 nothing more! Nothing less! And we guarantee the receipt of your fund to be successfully delivered to you within the next 24hrs after the receipt of payment has been confirmed.

Note: Everything has been taken care of by the Federal Government of Nigeria the International Monetary Funds, The United Nation and also the FBI and including taxes, custom paper and clearance duty so all you will ever need to pay is $280.

DO NOT SEND MONEY TO ANYONE UNTIL YOU READ THIS: The actual fees for shipping your ATM card is $420 but because UPS have temporarily discontinued the C.O.D which gives you the chance to pay when package is delivered for international shipping We had to sign contract with them for bulk shipping which makes the fees reduce from the actual fee of $620 to $280 nothing more and no hidden fees of any sort!To effect the release of your fund valued at $2.3million Usd you are advised to contact our correspondent in Africa the delivery officer Mr James Morgan with the information below,

Full Name:DANNY BLESSED Email: +++++++@gmail.com Telephone: (512) 240-XXXX

You are advised to contact him with the information as stated below: Your full Name : Your Address: . Home & Cell Phone: Occupation: Preferred Payment Method (ATM & Cashier Check) Upon receipt of payment the delivery officer will ensure that your package is sent within 24 working hours. Because we are so sure of everything we are giving you a 100% money back guarantee if you do not receive payment/package within the next 24hrs after you have made the payment for shipping. Yours sincerely, Miss Donna Story FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535

5 tips to help you recognize that it is a spam or phishing email:

  1. If they ask you for money it’s spam/phishing – let’s start with that.
  2. Bad grammar – there are quite a few mistakes in it – including the dropping of articles like “a” “the” look for those mistakes. I’m pretty sure the FBI has someone who proofs their emails before they send them out.
  3. If official it would have come certified mail, not in your email.
  4. If it sounds too good to be true it most likely is.
  5. It’s a plain text with no logo and uses an unusual email address, for example in this case it was +++++@163.com.

Find even more tips and frequent scams that arrive in your inbox with these tips from the real US Government.  Report spam/scam and phishing emails to the organization they are claiming to be from.  In this case it’s going to spam@uce.gov.

 

Sony Offers Directors and Writers Guilds Identity Theft Protection

Sony Pictures Entertainment is attempting to recover from a mass hacking that took place earlier this month. The hackers, reportedly from North Korea, sent threatening messages to the studio and to movie fans who were hoping to see the film “The Interview” on Christmas Day. The hackers leaked sensitive personal data, embarrassing emails, and subjected numerous employees to identity theft through the release of Social Security numbers along with a list of high-ranking officials within Sony.

In an attempt to try and make matters right within Sony, the company has offered identity theft protection to directors and writers who work for the studio. Identity theft protection will be offered through AllClear ID. The service was offered to Sony’s 3,803 employees when the massive leaks began. Sony is now offering it to the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America West.

“The DGA supports Sony in its efforts to combat any ill effects of the attack on DGA members,” the DGA told Variety. “We do not know whether or whose personal information may have been compromised, but Sony is offering one year of identity protection at no charge to any present or former employee who requests it.”

Sony is offering the identity theft protection service for one year, at no charge, to present or former employees who request it and who fit certain criteria.

The three largest movie chains in the nation canceled the Christmas screening of “The Interview” and there are currently no plans for when the film will be released. There is no reports about whether it will get to the big screen or if it will go direct to video.

 

Legitimate debt collector or fraudulent data colletor?

Data collection scams and debt collection scams have risen dramatically in the last few years.  Mal-ware at point of sale terminals has been used to steal customer data. Emails that phish for information have been used to steal consumer information and fake debt collectors who threaten victims with lawsuits and arrests have used information gained to exploit consumers.

“Unscrupulous scams hurt consumers and unnecessarily impedes legitimate debt collection efforts,” said ACA International CEO Pat Morris. “The recovery of consumer debt is vitally important to our local, state, and national economies. Those who purposely violate the law to exploit consumers should be held fully accountable for their actions.”

Consumers need to protect personal data and they need to know the difference between a legitimate debt collector and a fake scam being conducted to steal personal information.

ACA International recommends several important items in discerning a legitimate attempt to recover a debt. The first item is that a debt collector may not contact a consumer at times known to be inconvenient. Generally, a legitimate debt collector may not contact a consumer before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. in the consumers’ time zone.

Another item is that a debt collector must disclose its identity to the consumer and notify the consumer that the communication is from a debt collector, and (in the initial communication) that any information obtained will be used to effect collection of the debt. Debt collectors are not allowed to make false representations and may not threaten to take action against a consumer if it doesn’t actually intend to seek such action. Consumers also need to be aware that they can dispute the validity of the debt and during the time the debt is being dispute the debt collector must cease collection activity until verification of the debt has been provided. More guidelines can be found at ACA International.

Consumers can protect their personal data by checking credit and debit cards vigilantly and reporting any charges that appear questionable, even small amounts. Consumers can also monitor their credit profiles along with their card activity and consumers need to keep in mind that phishing scams for information don’t just happen via email and the phone. Phishing scams can come through snail mail also.  Shred paper with personal information before throwing it away, make online passwords stronger by using a mix of capital and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers, and take great care when giving out credit or debit card numbers, Social Security numbers or other personal information online and offline.

FBI warns OS X Mac Users about Ransomware Purporting to be from FBI

A new version of ransomware is targeting OS X Mac users can claiming that it is coming from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It is not malware and it appears as a webpage that uses JavaScript to load numerous windows. It requires that each frame be closed, but for that to happen a fee is requested thus the name ransomware has stuck.

A similar ransomware scam took place in May of 2012 also using the name of the FBI to lure in victims. The latest inception of ransomware uses “FBI.gov” within the URL in attempt to make the warning appear legitimate.

The scam is complicated. The warning that appears accuses victims of violating various U.S. laws, then locks up the victims computer. It claims that to unlock the computer and avoid legal issues, a fee of $300 needs to be paid via a prepaid Visa card. But the scam doesn’t end there. If a victim realizes that there is a scam taking place and attempts to close the windows, more windows (iframes) pop up with the warning.

The actual FBI website reports the simplest way to remove the ransomware’s iframes is to “click n the Safari menu, choose the “Reset Safari” option, making sure all check boxes are selected.” It also suggests holding down the Shift key while relaunching Safari to prevent reopening windows and tabs from the previous session.

“Ransomware messages are an attempt to extort money. If you have received a ransomware message, do not follow payment instructions. Be sure to file a complaint at www.IC3.gov,” says the FBI’s warning report.

All email and internet users should be warned of ransomware scams although the current version is only targeting OS X Mac users. The FBI encourages anyone who has been a victim of ransomware, e-scams, and phishing to contact the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov.

 

Photo-Sharing Programs are Latest Portals for Scam Artists

According to the latest FBI reports, cyber criminals have been using photo-sharing programs more often to reach into our pockets without permission. Of course the process is not quite so straightforward, but the end result is always the same. One of the most common methods involves utilizing vehicle advertisements to lure in trusting potential buyers. It is a new twist on an old plot to be sure, but it seemingly is still effective with a number of people.

To get the information they need, they use Continue reading Photo-Sharing Programs are Latest Portals for Scam Artists

Oklahoma Disaster Officials Are Now Fighting Off Fraud

It might seem hard to believe, but even areas that are suffering are not immune to fraudsters and scam artists. In fact, these areas seem to draw them in like crazy. In Oklahoma, where the tornadoes and disasters touched down with regularity over the past few months, the scam artists are already trying to take advantage of insurance and government programs. The tornado outbreak started around May 19 and the anti-fraud units in Oklahoma have been on high alert. In fact, officials from North Carolina have come in to aid in the fight as well.

The fraud is multifaceted and includes fraud of the victims, fraud of the system and insurance fraud to name a few.  Tornado victims are being counseled to teach them what to look out for, but it seems inevitable that there will be victims that were victims to start with. How someone can victimize people that have been through so much is hard to understand.

The other part of policing the situation includes Continue reading Oklahoma Disaster Officials Are Now Fighting Off Fraud

The Truth of Twitter: Is Twitter the Latest Way to Scare America?

After the bombings in Boston, all of America is on high alert to say the least. We always have been on alert, but it seems that danger lurks all around us at times. On April 23rd, the group known as the Syria Electronic Army hacked into the AP’s twitter account. The reason? So that they could fool us into thinking that the White House had been bombed and President Obama had been injured. This is not the first time the SEA has allegedly used Twitter to cause panic. They also allegedly hacked into Twitter accounts of the BBC, Sepp Blatter and CBS. This is, of course, in addition to the various accounts that they use of their own until they are suspended. Once gone, they simply open up a new one.

 

While on the surface it might seem like only words, those words can have devastating effects. Imagine a relative of a White House employee seeing such a tweet from a respected agency like the AP. Anyone that saw that tweet before it was refuted would have been alarmed and looking over their shoulder. The stock markets were actually affected as they dropped by one hundred and thirty six billion dollars.

The bottom line is that terrorists operate in fear and they really don’t seem to care how they generate it. Using Twitter seems like a joke on the surface, but it is no joke at all. Social media is not immune to evil at all Continue reading The Truth of Twitter: Is Twitter the Latest Way to Scare America?

Khloe Kardashian Denies Cathy’s Kids Charity Problems

Khloe Kardashian was quick to go on the offensive when accusations recently arose about husband Lamar Odom and his charity known as Cathy’s Kids. The former NBA superstar was recently mentioned in an ESPN episode of “Outside the Lines” where the charity was supposedly investigated. Odom began Cathy’s Kids as a tribute to his mom that passed away when he was a child from stomach cancer. The charity was originally intended to help with cancer research as well as underprivileged children.

The ESPN program claimed that the charity had not offered up one penny to cancer research since 2004, despite bringing in $2.2 million dollars. It also pointed out that 60 percent was allegedly used for team travel with two of the elite basketball teams.

Kardashian was adamant about Odom and his intentions being pure and this seems like a possible mix up of intentions. Odom was the primary source of the money to start with according to Khloe. When the charity first began, it seemed to be intended towards helping with cancer research. Over time, the charity began focusing on inner city children and helping them get a leg up in life.

Kardashian further went on to say that nobody in her family received one dime of the money. She mentioned that the IRS had given the foundation “a clean bill of health” and that a decision was made to focus more sharply on the youth as opposed to cancer research.

Certainly the shifted focus would Continue reading Khloe Kardashian Denies Cathy’s Kids Charity Problems

Here comes the marriage fraud

marriage fraudCue up the wedding music.   Turn on the PC.  You may not kiss the computer screen.   Yes,  internet marriages are becoming more common, but could that also mean that marriage frauds could become more common and easier to do too?

Britain recently uncovered a 20 million pound marriage scam involving cash for brides from Eastern countries.  The brides were bought and paid for, in order to get access to benefits and jobs in Great Britain.  It has been called the largest marriage scam uncovered, to date.

In the U.S.  three brothers were recently found guilty of  “participating in a conspiracy to enter into marriages for the purpose of evading U.S. immigration laws, making false statements to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and unlawfully attempting to procure naturalization and citizenship.” Apparently the three men in question paid women to marry them and set up a scheme where they would convince U.S. authorities of their happily married status, so that they could become citizens.   They now face prison time and deportation.

True Love or Marriage Fraud” took an inside look at the problems with marriage fraud in Canada.  stating that,

 Canada is, perhaps, the easiest among all developed countries in which to commit marriage fraud — and without any repercussions.  Around one thousand cases marriage fraud are reported to the government every year – stories of would-be immigrants who woo and marry Canadians as a doorway into Canada.

One artist from Ottawa says of the Canadian system, “The easiest way to become a permanent resident in this country is to get married. As soon as you step into the country you’re granted permanent residency status. There’s no other country that grants this…..I was duped into marrying this man who had no intention of staying with me.”

Reporting marriage fraud Continue reading Here comes the marriage fraud