Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Scam Alert – Are You the Target?

Today, we’re going to take a little detour on the road to style, so that I can alert you to an updated version of an oldie but goodie in the ever-expanding world of computer scams.


Last week, I got an e-mail from someone named Dave Wayne.  Mr. Wayne requested information on my image consulting services for his 17-year-old daughter, Anna.  He was in the real estate/construction business in the UK, but his daughter would be staying with his sister in the US. 

Something seemed a bit “off” with the language.  For someone with such an obviously Anglo-Saxon name, it was obvious to me that English was not Mr. Wayne’s native language.  Still, it’s not unusual for me to get inquiries from people from other parts of the US and abroad, who want to book my services while they are in the area, so, I returned his e-mail and referred him to the “Services” page of my website. 
 

He responded by saying that my fees were acceptable, that he and his wife wanted to book eight sessions with me for their daughter and that he wanted to know where I lived. 

I e-mailed back asking for more information on his daughter, where his sister lived in the US, etc., and got the following response from Mr. Wayne. 
 
"Hello ,

    Sounds good , thank you for your email once again and hope
  you are having a great day? I'm delighted to know we are in agreement
  here and I'm happy to know you are able to take Anna with
the
  Lessons. I Just spoke to my wife about your total rates and at this
  point, I'm most delighted to say we have a deal and have also informed
  my child, so she can't wait to meet you to get started.

    I want you to know that my wife and I had initially hired a private
  instructor for Anna and she was supposed to take her for 5
months
  which we already paid her upfront for but just before we concluded on
  lesson days and time, she lost her Husband and decided to quit teaching
  and take proper care of her family two boys and a girl. We concluded
  and she has agreed to have my money sent to any alternative teacher
  who'll be handling Anna with the lessons. I could have
had my sister
  receive the funds for me and pay you after each lessons as the case
  maybe but my sister at this time is 8 months pregnant with her first
  child and i don't think her husband who's out of town will appreciate
  me giving her any extra activities if you know what i mean.

  I've just concluded with Anna previous teacher to send
you all the
  money she owes me to you since am not in the States to cash checks,
  she'll send you a Certified Check. I will need your First and last name
  to issue check to you and your address where check will be sent to. If
  You receive the check go ahead and deduct your money for Anna
  lessons as agreed at ($800) for upfront payment for 4weeks. The
previous
  Teacher owes me $6,150.
  Pls i will need you to take your fees as agreed and pls help us have
  what's left sent to Anna travel agent as the money will
be used in
  securing her flight  tickets/BTA and travel documents down here
 . Since we're not available to handle all this.

  If this is fine with you, I'll need you to provide me with your
  name as to be written on the payment(Check), your Address (where the
  payment will be sent to) and your phone number and I'll instruct to
  have the payment issued and sent out to your location asap and am sure
  you understand and i will appreciate the help alot thank you.

  Do have a great week ahead and get back to me so i can make relevant
  arrangements, also anytime or day of the week that suits you best for
  lessons works just fine with us as Anna schedule for
now is fully
  open.  In a week or two from this date my child will arrive in my
  sister's house, so two days after she arrived lessons can get started
  if you available. In addition, lessons can be held in any place you
  recommend.
thank you for your help and understanding, looking forward
  in working with you.
  Regards,
Dave"


Now I knew that my initial suspicions were correct.  This was a SCAM!!  
 
The first thing I did was to e-mail back saying that I was unable to work with them. 


The second thing I did was a little research.  This is just the latest version of Phishing from those ever-resourceful Nigerian Phishermen, whose ultimate goal is to steal your identity.  This scam targets personal shoppers and coaches, language tutors, image consultants and those who provide personal, one-on-one services. 


The “certified” check they want to send you is always offered in an amount significantly larger than the agreed-upon fees.  When the check arrives, usually via UPS or other legitimate mail service, it looks genuine.  When it is deposited, the victim’s bank contacts the bogus bank to collect the funds.  Now the scammers have access to the victim’s account, and, if the victim sends a check for the difference, the scammers now have more than enough information to steal his/her identity and open fraudulent accounts in the victim’s name. 

The third thing I did was to run all of this by a close friend of mine, a retired FBI agent, for his take on it.  Here’s what he had to say: 

“Hey, you are right – an oldie but a goodie.  Another twist on Phishing.  They have gotten more subtle over the years as the old “I am a former member of the Iranian/Nigerian government” was too blatant.  They also need English lessons, which is the biggest clue.  You are RIGHT ON!  They obviously researched you on line, which is not hard these days, i.e., ZABASEARCH.” 

Eve and the Apple Art
In uncertain economic times, such as these, scams and get-rich-quick schemes are all around us.  And for the many hard-working people who find it difficult to make ends meet, they look so tempting.  But, be smart and be aware that a bite of that luscious, low-hanging fruit can lead to disaster.  Just ask Eve! 

8 comments:

  1. YES, YOU ARE SOOO RIGTH ,SCAMS ARE EVERYWHERE ! MY FRIEND SIGND ME UP ON A
    VERY LARGE & COSTLY DATING SERVICE .( WONT MENTION NAMES ) SINCE I AM A WIDOW, I RECEIVE OBVIOUS SCAM OFFERS ( MOSTLY OF VERRY HANDSOME YOUNGER MEN - IMAGINE ?? WHO HAVE LANGUAGE ISSUES ,NO MATTER HOW HIGH THE EDUCATION ) I MIGHT BE A WIDOW BUT ..... DUMP & STUPID I AM NOT .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just a guess, Sissy, but I'd bet that you were pretty savvy all your adult life. The idea of being a cougar never appealed to me either. I was never attracted to younger men, even when I was young. I always love your great comments. Thanks for taking the time.

      M-T

      Delete
  2. That's scary and all too frequent! I have to laugh at the language, which is usually the give away, but that letter you showed us is more over the top than any I've seen. Be well and safe. XO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, the letter was outrageous!! Still, there must be those who fall for it. I hope they read this post before they get involved.

      Cheers, my friend, M-T

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Too true....Patrizia....too true.

      Ciao, ma chère, M-T

      Delete
  4. scams are every where + be careful. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's always been a dangerous world -- nothing new there. The scam has been around forever and will just get more and more sophisticated. Keep your guard up!

      xoxo, M-T

      Delete

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