Last month some friends stopped by to get my opinion on an email they had received. Seems they had just won an International lottery (De Lotto Netherlands) and all they needed to do is give the Lottery Headquaters a bank account number so they could deposit the $3,000,000.
This month I got an email from a “Cedia” Estrada. She was asking for my help in smuggling, out of the country, millions of dollars her “ex-President” husband had stolen from the Philippines. Only problem is “Erap’s” wife is named Luisa not Cedia.
Both of these are elaborate computer schemes designed to separate you from your money. Here are a few more (http://www.snopes.com/).
- An offer to hook you up with thousands of dollars worth of government grants (free money) you are eligible for if you just apply.
- A person offers to buy something from you or your business paying with a cashiers check for more than the items price. The extra cash is yours to keep. No risk it is a “cashier’s check” good at any bank.
- People claim you failed to report for jury duty or some other official appearance and to avoid going to jail you need to provide them proof of your identity. They steal your identity and open up credit card accounts.
- There are several “work at home” schemes. One is you cash a check, then after extracting your forwarding fee, send the balance of the money to a third party. No risk, they will deposit the money in your account.
- They promise you $200 worth of gasoline coupons or a $500 dollar shopping spree at a big name shopping mall. All they want from you is a $3.49 filing fee.
-PayPal or Ebay will contact you and require you go to a linked site and update your information. Looks very official.
- A bank will contact you and request you tell them what to do with the $200,000 they have deposited under your name. the account has been inactive for over 5 years and they closed it.
-Hired as a secret shopper, you are asked to provide bank account information so they can deposit the money you need to make the required purchases.
- A job offer from a company in England. They want you to be their agent here in the Philippines.
Everyday crooks think up new way to “phish” your personal information or access to your accounts. The FBI (http://ww.fbi.gov/) recommends:
- Do not reply to email or pop-up messages requesting financial information.
- Do not open any links on these messages or “cut and paste” addresses from these messages.
- When asked to call your bank, do not call phone numbers provided in the computer message; use the one on your monthly statement.
- Keep your anti-virus/firewall up to date. Run a scan frequently.
- Do not email financial or personal information.
- Be very cautious about downloading or opening any email attachments even when you “know” the sender.
- Contact the bank or other financial institute and report anyone using their name to get information from you.
There are worm viruses that record and send everything you type to a third party. Be very careful to keep our computer virus free and avoid sending banking information or other personal data whenever possible.
General Rule: If it sounds too good to be true… it probably isn’t true.
They say you can not cheat an honest man. These schemes use the promise of easy money for little or no work. That is the hook they use to land you, their “phish”. Do not be a victim. Be an everyday hero and do not let your friends be a victim either.