Monday, March 29, 2010 Scam

Edit: Near the end of this post are some email security tips, which can help prevent scams like the following from being perpetuated.

Edit II: Due to the popularity of this post, there are now at the end of the post two links to books that help in recognizing scams. For full disclosure, I haven't read either book, but they come with positive reviews at May be helpful for safely staying away from other scams.

I received an email this morning from a fellow book artist which I'm sure she doesn't know about. It was for a great deal on a website and I had my husband take a look. This was his reply to it, which he just posted on his blog:
Just a warning as this looks like a new one, being that there is next to no word on it when I search for it. I did find an inquiry on Hoax-Slayer's Facebook page from someone who received the same email.
The following email came from the email account of someone my wife knows. No word yet on if that person sent it, or somehow her account was hacked.
Email subject line: "Share Surprise!"
Body of email:
"A friend of mine bought a laptop at a online store [a link to the website was here], he has received it and it has very good quality,this online store also sells TV,cellphone, and etc....
Recently this online store is making their promotion, they can offer very good discounts, and this promotion will be available for 30 days! If you like, please log on their website and have a try! I am sure you will get lots of surprises there, please always remember to share good deals with friends!

That whole email sounds scammy to me (english a bit off, clearly not written from a friend, and it ends in "Greetings!"). Flag one. When going to the site you see an actual site. Looks nice, seemingly well made, and low low prices. Ridiculously low. Flag number two. Click on the "About Us" and the english used is clearly from a non-native english speaker. Flag three. Claim that "all our products are produced from Korea." Flag four. Click on the "How to Payment" [sic] link and you get this line: "You can use online bank to pay, or go to your local bank or any other bank to pay. It is very easy and the bank worker also can help you." Flag Five. They provide info for paying via Western Union. Flag Six. Or pay via PayPal, but you must email them to get info for paying via PayPal "Because there are many frauds in Nigeria that use fake paypal to pay in order to deceive our products,so if you want to use paypal payment please enquire customer service MSN or email for paypal account." That's a direct quote. Flag Seven.

What a great scam. Built an entire site to enhance confidence, and because of it will likely nail a lot of people before word gets out on it. Then when word gets out, they'll now doubt port the site to a new domain and do it all over again.

Edit: A few email security tips learned from Popular Mechanics ("Securing Web Mail", 4/2009, p. 120):

Don't answer your security questions truthfully. If you do, many of the answers could often be found on the internet, even via something like your Facebook profile page.

Once sent, email can be intercepted. Info in them may also be used to hack your account if you are not careful about the info given in it. Gmail allows encryption of emails. To turn it on go to Settings: General, and scroll down to "Browser connection." Select "Always use https," the "s" standing for secure, or encrypted. Gmail will load slower, but your messages won't be so easily intercepted. supposedly offers even greater security for email.

If you use your phone for email, if it has passwords stored on it, and it was stolen, it could be related to your email account woes.

Edit: With the popularity of this post, I thought I'd offer two suggestions for books on scam recognition:
The Truth About Avoiding Scams
Scams & Swindles... How to Recognize And Avoid Rip-Offs In The Internet Age


Lizzie said...

Thank you for the warning!

Anonymous said...

I knew it was scam as soon as i seen the payment instructions.