Saturday, 07 March 2009
Internet dating fraud

When you think of Internet fraud you probably think of credit card theft or hackers getting into your computer stealing information to make lots of money. If you have been on the net for a while you may have heard of the notorious Nigerian 419 scam. Where unwitting victims are led to believe that a wealthy widower from an oil rich African state wishes to get her money out of the country and requires your help to do so. Sound familiar?

Well the Internet fraud game has taken a more sinister approach preying on lonely people on Internet dating websites. Now don't get me wrong there are probably a lot of genuine young women on Internet dating websites looking for long term relationships. But among these genuine people will be the fraudsters who have set themselves up with a fake profile. In many cases the photo of the person in these profiles is of a rather beautiful woman. Investigate the photos further and you will probably see they are taken off a modelling web site.

The fraudster will spend a lot of time forming an online relationship with their victim or maybe even several victims at once. Our fraudster does not have any morals and while they are leading on several victims in a dating scam, they may also have other little fraud projects setup on the side. One of the fraudsters favourites are fake banking websites setup to capture your credit card details (you know the ones?). To the fraudsters this is their 9-5 job this is how they make their living. The fraudster will eventually come up with a story of how they would like to come over and see their victim but need money for a ticket. The fraudster may also say they require money for a life saving operation. At this stage the victim is so smitten with the fraudster they are willing to give them anything. The fraudster will keep this scam going until the victim either catches on or runs out of money. The fraudster ensures they have a constant stream of cash coming in by having several of these victims lined up, almost like a production line. 

There are some key ways to identify these frauds which you can find on the following web sites.

Other ways of identifying fraudsters and not just Internet Dating fraudsters are:

  • Are they using a Yahoo email address? For some reason this appears to be the free internet email service of choice for Internet Fraudsters. Its so common someone has even started a directory of fraudster email addresses.
  • Is all correspondence in capitals?
  • If you Google the address they gave you, you may find its been listed on anti fraud sites. You may also find the address is used by several people.
  • If you Google the persons online nickname you may find they are registered on every single dating website out there. Possibly in several different countries.
  • If something sounds too good to be true it probably is.
posted on Saturday, 07 March 2009 17:45:39 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Saturday, 12 May 2007
Be your own boss work from home work your own hours

How many times have you seen the above title? Have you seen it so many times that you were about to skip this blog post all together? Don't panic I am not introducing some get rich quick scheme although I am writing about what I really hate about them!

If you have ever seen adverts on TV that show some poor bloke in a so called dead end job and that he can solve all his problems with a career in IT. All he has to do is get some qualifications from them and he will have a marvelous car, large figure salary, a large house or supervising people working for him. So many of my friends in IT laugh at these adverts, the adverts seem to make it seem so easy. The truth of the matter is, is that when people hire people in IT one of the most important things they look out for after qualifications is experience, actual implementation of what you have learnt for at least 2 years min or more. Don't get me wrong we all have to start somewhere and the money you spent on training will take a long time to pay itself back or for you to see the benefits. There are plenty of other ways to get into IT but just like any other profession it takes time and some people will pick it up and others will find they are better suited to other careers.

The other thing that annoys me is work from home scams. We would all like to work from the comfort of our own homes and earn lots of money for it. Scammers know this only too well and prey on desperate people or those who would just like to earn some money working from home. Usually this is mothers who are always at home taking care of kids or our parents have seen it and thought it might be a good idea. Some of these scams are so intricate, one of them was a CD sent to a friend of mine containing a professionally done video showing a happy couple driving expensive cars and living in a house the size of a small shopping mall. The couple went on to talk about how successful their lives were thanks to this scheme they had come up with. The funny thing about it is how they talk about how wealthy they are and how good their life is, but nothing about how the scheme works. This is usually saved until the end, where the scheme is revealed it usually involves buying 200 copies of the CD to flog to some more unsuspecting people for 50 pounds each! So how do you recognize these pitches?

  • The scheme talks more about the benefits than it does about the actual scheme
  • You need to purchase something
  • You hardly have to do any work just sit back and wait for the money to come in.

Just remember working from home or running a business from home is not easy in the slightest, being your own boss, while it enables you to decide what times you want to work or how much you want to work. If you don't work you are probably not going to earn any income and then starve ... its that simple. Being your own boss also means going on holiday or taking time off sick means no income.

posted on Saturday, 12 May 2007 14:48:24 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Wednesday, 11 April 2007
Chip and Pin

I found it quite interesting how so much has changed since Chip and Pin was introduced. The most interesting fact is that the crime just changed, chip and pin in most cases appeared to be un cracked but it made getting to another form of data a lot easier.

Imagine this, you enter a shop that has just set up for a while in your town and decide to buy a few of the cheap products on sale. You put your card into the chip and pin terminal and enter your pin for the transaction of say £10 and don't think anything more of it. However what you didn't realize was that the chip and pin machine they were using had a magnetic card reader as well as a chip reader (your card has a magnetic strip and chip). When you entered your pin the details were being stored or were being recorded in some way. Because the magnetic strip on your card was scanned it can easily be cloned and now that they have your pin they are able to withdraw money from your account using your pin.

So what just happened there? Well chip and pin worked and it was secure however the method you used to pay for a chip and pin transaction helped fraudsters get hold of the good old magnetic strip still used by cash machines and terminals you might using when going abroad.

Now the above is just one of the many ways I have heard of fraudsters circumventing the system. I am sure there are several other tricks out there. Remember when you use you card:

  • Make sure no one can see you enter your pin number
  • Does the Chip and Pin terminal look suspect?
  • Are you familiar with the store you are using your card in? How long has it been there?
  • If in doubt use good old fashioned cash
posted on Wednesday, 11 April 2007 21:16:04 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Sunday, 18 March 2007
My computer is broken how do I fix it?

I've noticed a large selection of people placing adverts into newspapers offering to fix your PC from 15 pounds and hour to 60 pounds and hour depending on where you look. Some offer no fix no fee and its pretty cool idea you are providing a service to people who may need it. Unfortunately among the elite guys who can fix problems and don't charge you the earth there are far to many who take advantage of people who haven't got a clue on how computers work to fix them. These people are kind of held at the mercy of others to help them fix the issue, I for one don't have a great knowledge of building and masonry but that's where I ask my father who comes around to help out and I return the favor with any problems he is having with his computer.

I have seen far to many of friends, relatives and friends of relatives who have got into the money pit issue on their computers where they have spent so much money solving problems on their machines where they finally get told by a relative "Hey Rory knows about computers why don't you give him a call?". I usually get some call about them running low on memory or their machine not starting up properly or its lost all its settings. They have taken it down to the local PC shop where they have now spent upwards of 70 pounds to try and get the issue solved. I usually end up taking one look at the PC fuming at how much they had to spend for in some cases to fix what was quite a small issue such as them just needing to clear out those large videos on their Hard Disk they took by mistake when testing out the camcorder that connects to the PC for video editing. In many cases I am offered money but refuse and end up getting book vouchers, free monetary advice or a plate of home made cookies in return.

So in the good spirit of the web, if anyone reading this blog needs some computer advice and doesn't mind me posting articles about the advice I give please drop me a line and I'll see what I can do!

posted on Sunday, 18 March 2007 15:53:40 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Monday, 26 February 2007
Online fraud and online ethics

It always amazes me how so many people still fall for online scams. I suppose the Internet being so vast and with thousands of new users everyday there is bound to be fresh meat for the scammers. 

Sometimes I wish when people are first introduced to the Internet that they are made aware of scams. One of the most popular of these scams is the Nigerian 419 Pen Scams or better known as an Advanced fee fraud scam . These scams have been going on for a long time and basically work on the basis of getting you to pay some money up front to help them get some money stuck in a back account in some third world country to be released and you guessed it there is always a corrupt official that needs to be bribed with your money. Now there is a group of people who bait these type of scammers and they have one of the most hilarious web sites I have ever seen 419 Eater.

Some golden rules to remember when working out if something is a scam

  1. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
  2. If you have been offered a work from home opportunity be wary of web sites that ask for money up front.
  3. If you are on a web site that claims not to be like any of the other get rich quick scheme web sites they probably are.
  4. If you are on a web site that claims to have the secret to getting rich quickly with hardly doing anything in most cases they will have a very long what I call "Sales Piece" about how this secret changed their life until they eventually ask for money or ask for your contact details.
  5. In most cases their secret to getting rich which they will divulge to you is actually a web site just like theirs, you pay them $50 (or what ever the amount is) and you get a site just like them to lure in someone else and it starts all over again. This is in fact a pyramid scheme  which effectively is a non sustainable business model and in most countries this is illegal . It relies on people bringing more and more people into the scam to keep it going. These kind of schemes have been responsible in the past for destroying small economies.
  6. How long has the site been around? You can often check this by looking at the WayBackMachine, who else has talked about this site? Google the site and see what others have said about it.
  7. If the scheme is genuine the person running it won't mind you asking them many questions. After all you are the investor you have something they want - your money.

Put the following note with your credit card

"WAIT! Is this an Internet SCAM?"

The more people we can stop being scammed the less people there are for the scammers

posted on Monday, 26 February 2007 21:08:31 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]