Internet Scams

My friend called me last night in a panic. “I think I’ve just been scammed” he said.

He tells me he has just received a call from Microsoft employee, John Smith. An Indian gentleman from Sydney.   John is calling to tell my friend that he can see that his computer has a virus and is at risk of being hacked. What a thoughtful man.

My friend is not stupid. I do not want to say his name and embarrass him any further. So we will call him Dill.

Dill tells me that John is eloquent. He has an answer for everything. He asks all the right questions.

“ is your computer running slowly? “

Yes

“do you need to upgrade your virus protection?”

Yes

“ do you want me to fix and speed up your computer and protect it from attack?”

YES

Dill was a little suspect so he asked John for a call back number. The number was given and Dill called. A secretary answered. Dill was put through to John. Dill was hooked.

John asked Dill to follow his instructions. Dill agreed.  John asked Dill to type a few commands into his computer. Dill did so. John asked for Dill’s IP address. Dill gave it. John asked Dill to allow him remote access to his computer. Dill gave it. John asked for Dill’s banking details. Dill ga….. Hang on. Dill paused. Dill clicked. Dill panicked. Dill ripped the plugs from his wall.

But it was too late. ‘John’ in ‘Sydney’ was in. He could have access to Dill’s files, family photos, business information and personal records. Dill freaked out. He felt violated. Exposed. He called me for support.

On the other end of the line Dill politely waited till I had stopped laughing.  Then he ran through what happened.

After I regained my composure he patiently waited again until I had stopped making jokes at his expense.

Dill called IT support. He changed all his passwords. He rather sheepishly called the local police station to file the report . He called his Internet provider. He called his bank. He asked me to never mention this to anyone. I couldn’t promise that.

It just goes to show that you do not have to be the older generation or a technophobe to be scammed. Scammers are more and more sophisticated in their methods but simpler in their approach.

I hung up and thanked him for the mileage I would get from this.

Imagine my delight when a few weeks later another friend told me they had fallen for an email scam.

This friend, let’s call him Numpty, received an email saying there had been an unauthorised transaction from his bank account and to open the attached .zip file. He did. An hour later he had a lot of money taken from his account.

It was an unfortunate coincidence for Numpty that the email scam was from the bank that he actually used.

These boys are so gullible. I would never fall for something like that. I will be laughing from my boat in the Bahama’s shortly. You see I am about to be rich. I just received an email from a lawyer in Zimbabwe. He needs my help to get $40m out the country from a deceased estate.

I am getting 10% for my trouble – $4m – transferred straight into my account.

Easy money. Happy days……………….

SCAMS TO BE AWARE OF……

There are lots of scams out there. Here are a few to watch out for……

NEW PASSWORD

If your bank, another bank, Paypal, Facebook or other institute asks for your password via email – DO NOT OPEN. Businesses very rarely ask for personal information via email. Delete the email. If you are not sure. Call your bank before opening to confirm.

EMAIL

For a list of email scams refer to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_email_scams

Bottom line – never open a .zip file unless you are expecting it.

SMS

I have received various emails from lottery companies around the world advising me I am a big winner. The most recent, well publicised, SMS I received informed me I would be killed if I did not send $5000 within 24 hours. I am still here. Delete.

BENFICIARY/HOLDING ACCOUNT

If you are told you are the beneficiary or you have been asked to hold a few million dollars in your account until it can be accessed by the Rt Honorable Leonard J T Bullard, and that you will receive several hundred thousand dollars in return. Delete the email.

PHONE CALLS

If a person calls claiming to be from Microsoft, Windows, Apple or any other tech company and you are not expecting the call. Be suspicious.

  • Do not give out any personal information.
  • Do not allow anyone remote access to your computer

 

To report a scam or find out more from the ACCC information website in:

http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/693900

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