Today’s Scams

Will it ever end?

I need to start by mentioning that I have so much spam protection set up for my e-mail accounts that I get a total of less than 30 unsolicited e-mail messages a day — on 10 e-mail accounts. I think that’s pretty damn good, considering what’s going on out there.

Yet today, I got TWO scam messages before I started my day’s work. I want to take a moment to mention them because I want to help educate people about how scammers are trying to separate unsuspecting people from their money.

I’ll pay you $8000 with my credit card and you give me $4,820 in cash.

The first was a repeat of a scam that I first experienced in May 2007. I wrote about it here. This is a twist on the old scam where you’re selling something and a buyer wants to use a certified check to overpay you and get the excess cash to “an agent” for some other purpose. In my case, what I was selling was helicopter tour services. The “client” was from Germany, planning a vacation in the area, and wanted to prepay for tours around the area for his family. The first time I saw this scam, I got sucked in a bit — until the prepay part, which included money forwarded to a “logistic agent.” Alarm bells went off. You can read all the messages and my accompanying thoughts in the post I linked to above. I highly recommend this post for anyone selling any high-ticket items — goods or services — on the Web.

Today’s message sounded familiar when I read it. A search through my blog using the word “scam” brought it up to refresh my memory. A comparison between today’s e-mail message and the May 2007 message resulted in many identical words and phrases — even the 95-lb weight of the 16-year-old son.

I replied with a link to the post, using TinyURL to mask the URL:

You might want to read the following for more information about how we handle reservations like this:

http://tinyurl.com/5tcryd

Busted!

For security reasons we have sent you this message as an attachment file.

If that doesn’t send off bells and whistles, you deserve to be scammed. The e-mail message in question was supposedly from Barclay’s Bank. I don’t have an account there, so there was no chance that I was going to open the attachment.

The attachment was an innocent-looking HTML file. It could have contained any kind of malicious code or links to a site that would install malware. It could have simply prompted me to enter my Barclay’s account information, which it would then forward to the scammers so they could suck money out of my account.

This might seem simple to everyone — don’t open an attachment. But if you have a Barclay’s account, and the message says the attachment is part of a new security program, and you’re gullible, you might just open it.

Don’t. Open. Any. Attachments. In. Messages. Unless. You. Know. They’re. Safe.

3 thoughts on “Today’s Scams

  1. Interesting/amusing. However using TinyURL doesn’t mask your URL for very long. If the sender bothered to click on it, it would quickly be translated to reveal the real URL.

What do you think?