TECH 5 for Monday, Feb. 3, 2014

TECH 5

Hello and welcome to today’s edition of TECH 5. This is Ben Harrison. Today, I’d like to share a couple of internet scams that have been happening not only world-wide, but to me personally.

Many internet users are receiving appeals from around the world to donate money for relief and humanitarian needs in the aftermath of many man-made, terrorist, political and weather related national disasters, including the Christmas Eve flood disaster in our own country.

In no way do I want to discourage people and organizations from sending funds to needy causes, but I urge you to apply a critical eye and do your own due diligence before responding to those requests. Past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause.

Therefore, before making a donation, especially a financial donation, consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, to include the following:

  • Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages.
  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for financial donations via e-mail or social networking sites.
  • Verify the legitimacy of not-for-profit organizations. Not by following a purported link to the site.
  • Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
  • Make financial contributions directly to known organizations like the Red Cross, rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes.
  • Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.

 

THE STRANDED TRAVELLER SCAM:

  • An increasing number of reports continue to be filed about individuals’ e-mail or social networking email address accounts being hacked or stolen and used in a scam to swindle consumers out of thousands of dollars.
  • Email supposedly from a personal friend, or someone known to you claims that he or she is stranded without money or papers in a foreign land because of a robbery and asks that you send funds urgently via a wire transfer to help the person return home. This is a case of a fraudster making use of personal email lists that have been stolen from victim’s personal email list.
  • Posing as a robbery victim, the hacker uses stolen email addresses and sends an urgent email to everyone on the list. The email claims he/she is in immediate need of money due to being robbed of their credit cards, passport, money, and cell phone; leaving them stranded in London or some other location. Some claim they only have a few days to pay their hotel bill and promise to reimburse upon their return home. A sense of urgency to help their friend/contact may cause the recipient to fail to validate the claim, increasing the likelihood of them falling for this scam.

Several weeks ago, I received this personal email from a very good friend.

 

Dear Ben,

How are you doing? Hope all is well with you and your family?

I am sorry I didn’t inform you about my traveling to England for a business trip and right now, I am stranded here and need to get back to Canada without delay.

I need a favor from you because I was robbed on my way back to my hotel suite’

The robbers carted away with my bag containing my wallet, phone, flight ticket, passport and other valuables.

I really need your help and hope you can see your way clear to lending $3,500 US Dollars (or any amount you can afford as half bread is better than none) so that I can sort out my hotel bills and get myself back to Canada.

I promise to pay you back with an extra $500.00 as soon as I return home in a few days time so kindly let me know if you can be of help.

I was told the fastest and safest way to receive money in seconds is through western union {since that is what works here}.So if you can be of help, you can send the money using the details below:

Cheers,
Colin

PS: To get a list of western union money transfer agents close to you, go to the link below and enter your full address:

www.westernunion.com/info/agentLocatorLookup.asp

Please, as soon as you send the money, send me an email with the transaction code I will need to pick up the money. I will be back here in couples of hours to get the transfer details, Please do it without delay so I can come home.

After I receive the money, I will email you an update on my return.
Thanks once again and I will really appreciate if you can be of help.
Every person on Colin’s email address list received the same request. Fortunately Colin was aware that his computer had been compromised and emailed his entire list that he was alive and well in Canada and had not been in England.

No matter how personal the request appears, if you receive a request from a stranded friend, do your own verifying through his family or mutual friends. It is probably a scam.

That is Tech 5 for today: Tune in tomorrow for more news, good, bad and indifferent from the technology dependent world we live in.

 

This is Ben Harrison from EEZEE Radio 91.1 AND 102.7 on your FM DIAL in St. Vincent and the Grenadines