Scams to be aware of and not be caught as report in todays Irish Times by Conor Pope
While the name might be new, the “Dubai broadband scam” comes with wearyingly familiar echoes of the activities of international criminals who have been targeting vulnerable people in similar operations for many years.
In the latest account of a person falling foul of fraudsters, a Limerick man in his 70s was telephoned by man claiming to be from a broadband provider.
The man said the victim’s bank account had been hacked and he would have to be transferred to the company’s cybercrime section.
The pensioner then gave permission for €10,000 to be moved from his bank account to the alleged safety of an account in Dubai. He is unlikely to ever see the money again. Seven scams to watch out for:
1 The bitcoin blackmail email In recent months scammers have been contacting millions of people worldwide with emails containing details of passwords belonging to the targets.
The criminals use the fact that they know a “secret” password to give their correspondence credibility.
They claim they have infected the victim’s computer with a virus allowing them to record what the person watches online.
The email suggests that a tape of the victim watching pornography exists and will be widely distributed unless bitcoin is transferred immediately.
2 The invoice scam
Criminals sending apparently innocuous mail to a company or individual in a business which looks like it comes from a supplier they deal with.
The email asks for no money and is just an administrative alert to let the recipient know that the bank details for the supplier have changed.
Payment systems are updated. Weeks or months pass before a legitimate invoice from the supplier arrives and is paid, but to the wrong bank account.
3 The chief executive scam
Scammers use the likes of LinkedIn to find out who the chief executives and senior financial staff are in companies.
Then they send bogus emails purporting to be from senior executives to financial staff instructing them to transfer money into numbered bank accounts.
The mails say urgency and secrecy are important and are addressed to a named individual and are from a named employer.
The FBI’s internet crime centre has been investigating these scams for years and has estimated that losses of as much as €1 billion have been recorded in the US alone.
4 The Wangiri fraud
This sees scammers leaving missed calls from mysterious numbers on mobile phones. When calls are returned they are diverted to premium rate numbers overseas to the victim’s cost.
5 The department store scam
This is like the “Dubai broadband scam” but cleverer.
It sees the “security manager” of a well-known shop call the target to say someone has tried to use their credit card in-store.
They ask for financial details and if they do not get them they urge the target to call their bank.
The victim hangs up and picks up the receiver immediately and calls their bank. What they don’t know is that the fraudster is still on the line because when a call is made to a landline only the caller and not the person receiving the call can disconnect so the line remains active for 60 seconds. The fraudster then pretends to be a bank official and the crime is completed.
6 Phishing scams
Any email from a bank, the National Lottery, Netflix, Revenue or Ebay or whoever asking for key details, such as passwords or bank account numbers, so they can update accounts with enhanced security features or send money are to be treated with extreme caution. No reputable organisation will ever contact anyone in such a way.
7 The Microsoft scam
Calls come from people claiming to be from Microsoft offering to fix a deadly virus on the target’s computer for a small sum of money. Sometime the scammers look to take control of computers remotely, sometimes they look for sensitive financial details. They are always bogus calls.