Scammers Are Personalizing Emails

Scammers Emails

Internet scams are on the rise and it will get worse in coming years. I take Internet scams, or any kind of consumer fraud, seriously and always try to update my readers with new findings. Today, I am going to post an email I received in my Gmail inbox. I always get tons of these - but why this particular email is so important? Because the scammer did not send it just bluntly.  He took his time and did his research to find my email from a Press Release which I issued some time ago. Why would he do that? He is trying to sound real by making a personal connection (mentioning he read your press release). He is going that extra mile to intimidate you. The letter you will receive in your inbox may not look like the one I am posting. However, you will have an idea what these scam letters look like. Remember, common sense and vigilance are your best defense. Here is what I have received:

"frank williams" (frank002williams@gmail.com) has contacted you from your profile on biz.PRLog.Org.

frank williams said -
From:frank williams
Rue 2 plateaux les perles Abidjan,
Cote D' Ivoire.

My name is frank williams, 24 years from Sierra Leone. My father and I escaped from our country at the heat of the civil war after loosing my mother and two of my senior brothers in the war.
He was in Buake, a northern city to  negotiate for the purchase of a cocoa plantation when he was shot and killed by the rebel troupes fighting to take over the Government of the country on the 22nd September, 2002.

Before the unfortunate death, my late father had in his personal account with a bank here the sum of $18.4m. As a result of the present insecurity of lives and property in this country,
I need you also to assist me with a letter of invitation as come down and complete my education while you mind the investment.

I will give you 15% while 5% is made for expenses. E-mail: me frank002williams@gmail.comso that we can discuss further.
frank williams
First Published: Sep 12, 2008 ADawnJournal.com

 

Massive Equifax Data Breach & My 3 Hacked Credit Cards

Equifax Data Breach

In my last post, I talked about my CIBC AC Vonversion Visa Travel credit card that was hacked. Since then, there were 2 other credit cards that were compromised.

One of these two cards had one fraudulent charge and then their fraud detection system shut off the account. The other credit card had about 20 attempted fraudulent charges that were coming from all across the globe, but none of them was successful.

I was puzzled, as there was no connection between these three cards. I never had them together in my wallet or purchased online, one card had only one transaction 4 months ago and the other card had only 2-3 charges at an electronic store and groceries.

The connection became clear to me when Equifax declared that there was a huge data breach that affected 143 million customers. I have plausible reasons to believe that all my affected cards were scammed because of the Equifax breach; the time frame matches and it makes so much sense because that’s the only connection I can see linking these 3 cards together.

Credit card reporting companies like Equifax will never tell you the real story. They won’t tell you up to what level or exactly what sort of information from your files was leaked, or how many credit cards or clients were leaked. They are vague providing any information and I do not trust them with the information they are providing. Also, how can you trust someone who broke your trust in the first place by failing to protect your valuable information?

I have posted a video and in this video, I will discuss all this and will tell you what you should do because of this data breach. The link is here: Massive Equifax Data Breach & What To Do

 

CIBC Air Canada Card Was Compromised

CIBC AC Conversion Visa Prepaid Card

About 2 weeks ago, I found out that my CIBC AC Prepaid Visa card was compromised. However, this card was never stolen or lost.

When trying to load my card online, I noticed scammers made 9 fraudulent transactions. The small transactions were made via PayPal and 2 large transactions were made from Malaysia. One of these was Expedia Malaysia and the other one was an airfare purchase from Malaysia.

CIBC is not the back office for this card. A third party prepaid credit card provider I2C (http://www.i2cinc.com/) in California is the back office and provides support maintaining this card and they don’t take calls, so I had to talk to CIBC customer service and file a complaint form. I was told that it could take up to 40 days to complete the investigation and reverse those charges.

The reason I use this card is because I can control how much credit availability the card can have and it’s especially handy when you are travelling. So scammers were able to extract only around $200 due to low availability.

What surprised me most is that I2C’s fraud detection system totally failed, as there were 9 transactions and they raised no flags whatsoever. In the past, I dealt with fraudulent activities on my credit cards and their systems flagged and blocked my cards after 1 or 2 transactions. After 9 transactions, my AC Conversion card had no more balance left for the scammers to take out and that’s why it stopped. No fraud detection system stopped it.

I will link a video I made on this on the top left and here: My Travel Visa Card Was Compromised. I will give some tips to help you protect yourself from credit card scams in that video as well.

West African Letter Fraud - A Perfect Example

West African Letter Scam

In my book Invest Now I dedicated a whole chapter to Internet Scams. West African letter Fraud is a common form of Internet scam. You receive a letter in the mail convincing you to give out your personal information, and then scammers empty out your bank account. This type of scam can come from anywhere, in any form. It does not have to come from West Africa. Today I have a perfect example of West African Scam to post. I just got this email and picture in my mail box. First, I am going to give you an excerpt from Invest Now, and then I will show you the letter and picture I received.

The following is an Excerpt from my first book Invest Now. Invest Now is jam-packed with timely information and timeless advice for the beginning Canadian investor. Invest Now covers a broad range of topics including Internet Scams. To purchase a copy, visit Chapters Indigo or click here to buy online - Invest Now: A Canadian's Guide to Investing

The Excerpt

West African letter fraud: You meet a 20-something-year-old girl in a chat room. She sends you a few hot pictures. Then she mentions that her dad was a high-ranking government official or industrialist who left her millions of dollars. She explains that she is not able to move this fund from her dad’s account due to regulations, and she needs your help. All you have to do is to give her your bank-account information to transfer her money out of the country; in return, she will give you 40 or 50% of her 10 or 20 million dollars. Wait, even more incentives remain. Since you are such a nice guy, she even would not mind spending a couple of months in a resort with you. You don’t waste a second to grab this lifetime opportunity, handing over your banking information. A few days later, you find out that your bank account was emptied out. Your dream of spending quality time with a beautiful girl as a freshly minted millionaire is gone—and so is all the money in your bank account. Sometimes, the scammer claims to be from Nigeria, but it’s always the same scam. Be aware.

A Perfect Example

from Angie Keong <giveslife@yahoo.com>

reply-to giveslife02@yahoo.com,

to giveslife@yahoo.com,

date Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 3:37 PM

subject FROM MRS.ANGIE KK

mailed-by yahoo.com

signed-by yahoo.com

Images from this sender are always displayed. Don't display from now on.

hide details 3:37 PM (4 hours ago)

Reply

FROM MRS.ANGIE KK
THE CRY OF A WIDOW
Do accept my sincere apology if contacting you through this medium goes against your moral values and code of conduct. My name is Mrs. Angie KK, the wife of late Mr. Sherif Keong who happen to be an international business man dealing mainly in contracting.There is something I personally need your urgent attention and assistance in, hoping that you are living well with your family over there in your country. I want you to personal assist me to safeguard a reasonable sum to your country or any other place where you are familiar with for a productive investment. The fund were generated through a legal means by my late husband but due to some issue between my late husband and few foes, I am mandated to make this transfer and the onward investment on my own.

The fund in question is the sum of Twenty One Million United State of American Dollars which was deposited on a vault by late husband in a Financial Institute, and it is due to be transferred, but the major problem I was facing for quite a long time now is finding a capable person who will help me to make the transfer, and also negotiate some areas of lucrative investment down on-behalf of my son Franklin

Due to my medical condition(Cancer of the large Intestine which was not noticed at the early stage) and situation of things around me, I can't effect the conveying of the project on my own and for the safety of my son without an aid of someone. This was the major reason that drew my attention to contact you personally for an assistant regarding the execution of this project. I am in a critical position since the doctors have confirmed that the cancer was not noticed at the early stage and it is only a miracle that can heal me. Thus, I am doing all this because I want my son to have a future incase if anything happens to me.
I will give you all the necessary information you would require to know about this project when I read from you. I will be expecting to hear from you any moment from now
Regards
Mrs. Angie Keong

The Lesson

Do not give out any financial or personal information in an e-mail or chat room.

First Published: ADawnJournal.com Apr 24, 2008

What to Do When Hackers Hack Your Websites

Tips to Deal with Blog or Website Ad Codes from Hacking

Recently, I had my first incidence of one of my sites being hacked by online intruder. Nothing can beat the learning that comes from experience – that’s why I have decided to share my experience with you today. Also, I will describe a few steps you all should consider to better tackle this type of situation.

About two weeks ago, I opened one of my sites in my browser and found out that the top widgets on the right column had disappeared. Also, the whole site looked disheveled - it was like someone had played around and tampered with the site’s programming codes.

My programmer was able to fix everything in time. But then, he gave me a valuable tip which I have never thought of. He mentioned that hackers usually hack sites to implement their own ad codes. So instead of the site owner, these high-tech thieves make money. If you are an Internet entrepreneur, you know that all ad codes such as Google Adsense, Infolinks, Chitika, etc. run on your site because of a few line ad scripts or html codes. The only thing makes these codes identifiable for the individual is a numeric value such as 54890245 or something like it. Now, if someone hacked your site and implemented their own codes replacing yours – it’s almost impossible to know by looking at it. We usually never check and match these numeric values assigned to each individual.

So, hacking your codes could go unnoticed for many months until one day you think: wait a minute, how come I have never made money in the past 2 months? What precautions should you take if your site gets hacked or even if it did not get hacked but you just want to be safe?
Follow these simple tips:

- Always backup your site
- If your site gets hacked, change your password ASAP
- Go through all ad codes to make sure they are indeed your codes, install fresh codes if necessary
- Always keep an eye on your revenue. If you see a sharp drop in income or no income at all, it means your site  
  has been compromised.
- It is a good idea to change your password periodically. 
- Do not use the same password for your ad accounts, email, and other programs. If hackers get thru your site,
  they will have access to everything
- Do not make your password too easy to guess
- Your programmer, editor, virtual assistant … should be someone you can trust. For example, I have been with
  my team of experts for a few years now and I trust them all, as they are very trust worthy.
- Always take precautions and be vigilant. Use your common sense and let it be your guideline.
First Published: EntrepreneurJourney.com Apr 3, 2010