To Protect Yourself from Common Scams, Do This

FIRST:

Be Very Careful with Cashier’s Checks!

Secret Shopper Bogus Check

These are extremely easy to forge on pre-printed forms available anywhere like Staples, Office Max, etc. All the criminal needs is a laser printer.

NEVER send money to someone who has sent you a cashier’s check until you have verified with your bank that it has cleared. If the check is bogus, you can also be arrested for passing fraudulent documents. This is a rare occurrence, but it has happened and probably will happen again.

SECOND:

Do Not Use Money Transfer Services with Unknown Persons

Generic_MoneyPak_Front

We’re talking here about Western Union, MoneyGram, and Green Dot MoneyPak cards, or anything else like it.

If you send money to a criminal with Western Union or a similar service, it’s gone. You can’t get it back. If a criminal asks you to buy a Green Dot MoneyPak card and send him/her the PIN, do not do it. Your money will be gone, and you won’t get it back.

These services irresponsibly enable fraudsters all over the world to perpetrate their scams on vulnerable or unwitting people. They should be regulated in much the same was as pawn shops.

THIRD:

Do not believe everything you read on the internet, or in your email box.

Scams are rampant. Criminals all around the world want your money, and they will stop at virtually nothing to get it. An example received just yesterday.

FOURTH:

Do not click on links in emails.

If you’re curious about a link in an email, type the address in your URL box directly, like this:

walmart1

If you click on a link directly in the email, you may be redirected to a bogus site:

redirect

In this example, the link that looks like it will go to a legitimate Walmart site is actually taking you to a questionable internet marketing website that is being used by criminals.

FIFTH:

Do not click on attachments in emails unless you know who sent them.

mail

This email looks like it has attached a .PDF file. However, any attachment can be deceptive. TXT files, DOC or DOCX files, PDF files, XLS or XLSX files, and many others – all can actually be .EXE files in disguise.

If you do not know who is sending you an attachment, never click on it.

SIXTH:

Never pay money to collect a prize.

This just goes without saying. You can’t win a lottery or sweepstakes you didn’t enter. Legitimate lotteries or sweepstakes, and there are precious few of these, will never ask you for up-front money to collect a prize. Again, never send money to a stranger hoping to get a large payout. If you do, you are being robbed.

SEVENTH:

There is no Nigerian prince or government official who wants you to help get money out of the country.

nigerians

This is the “419” fraud, so named for the section of the Nigerian legal code that makes this sort of scam illegal. None of the above schemes will work if people avoid sending money to strangers using Western Union or MoneyGram or other methods. This also applies to “reshipping work” or “lonely hearts” scams. At some point, all of them will ask you to send money somewhere. Don’t Do It!

There are more ways to get scammed and one post can’t cover them all, but if everyone would follow these few simple steps, the incidence of fraud would decrease dramatically. Protect your loved ones. Educate them, or watch over their finances. Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

“Walmart” Secret Shopper Scam

Today’s scam email:

From: “Walmart .” <appstore_–itunes@outlook.com&gt
To: [obfuscated]
Subject: Part time Job

Hi there,

Will you like to make extra cash, click the link below for more details.

http://www.walmart.com/job_requirement_000032.html

Thanks
Walmart
Note: Do not reply this email follow the link if you are interested.

It should be painfully obvious that this email is not from Walmart. It comes from an address that is totally unrelated to Walmart; most large companies have their own domains, and never use mail aggregator services like Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, Rogers.com, and the like. Not to mention that the English is poor: “will you like to make extra cash,” “do not reply this email,” etc.

But let’s see where that link goes.

One of the prime tenets of Safe Computing is that you never click directly on links in emails. My email client, the old but still-faithful Eudora 7, warns you if the link you’re clicking on goes somewhere else, like this:

redirect

Notice that this link redirects to somewhere called “moziawomensnetwork.com,” which is definitely not a Walmart link. If you type the link as seen directly into your URL bar, you get this:

404

In other words, 404: Not Found. Walmart has no such link.

If you are foolish enough to click the link, thinking that this is a real job offer, here’s what you get:

scam

So, in addition to the noise about being a secret shopper, and giving your personal information to filthy criminals, the money shot is here:

  • You will be mailed a cashier’s check for $1950. It will be bogus, and even though your bank might give you the money, it will bounce and then you will be in debt to your bank.
  • You are being asked to buy a Green Dot Moneypak card, probably in the amount of $1750 or so, and send the PIN to the scammers. In other words, you are sending your own hard-earned cash to scum-sucking descendants of pigs, and you will be responsible to pay that money back to the bank.

DO NOT DO THIS!

Be very afraid of cashier’s checks, and never send money via Western Union, MoneyGram, Green Dot MoneyPak card, or any other untraceable, unrecoverable method to people you do not know personally.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The Cats of Sydney Harbor Bridge

I happened across this picture on reddit today and wondered about the backstory:

QZwnh08

The post intimated that this cat was named George. A little digging intimates that it’s not impossible, but that there were several cats who lived on or around the bridge, some of which never came down. I find that a bit hard to believe, but you can judge for yourself.

28sydney-hb06

28sydney-hb03

28sydney-hb04

28sydney-hb05

These images were found at Purr-n-Fur – there’s an article there with more information on the cats.

cats

From the The Sunday Herald, 29 July 1951

Related: Below, an image of the bridge under construction in 1930

bridge

THE MOST IDIOTIC SCAM OKAY

I’ve gotten hundreds of emails from Nigerian (or other nationality) scammer, but this one just made my head spin with it’s stupidity.

From: “BARR. JOHN KURTY” <office_moneygram@yahoo.com>

Subject: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, MG Richard Peter; Adjutant General and Director State Military Department Washington Military Dept., Bldg1 Camp Murry ,Wash 98430-5000 USA GOOD DAY TO YOU.

MY NAME IS MR. JOHNSON WILLIAM, WHAT IS HOLDING YOU TO SEND THE MONEY RIGHT NOW PLEASE GO AHEAD AND SEND THE MONEY SO THAT YOU WILL RECEIVE YOUR BOX WITHIN 24HOURS YOU HAVE IT ONCE YOU SEND MONEY THAT IS THE ONLY DELAY WE HAVE RIGHT NOW TO DELIVER YOUR CONGNMENT BOX TO YOU SO TRY YOUR POSSIBLE BEST TO SEND THE MONEY TODAY BECAUSE YOU HAVE ONLY (3 DAYS)IF YOU DID NOT MAKE THE PAYMENT THEN I WILL DIVERT YOUR FUNDS TO US GOVERNMENT FUND OR BENIN GOVERNMENT TREASURY.

I WILL WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU WITH THE PAYMENT INFORMATION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE OKAY. MAY GOD BLESS YOU.

WHEN I ARRIVE IN THE BENIN PARLIAMENT IN COTONOU, I FOUND YOUR CONSIGNMENT BOX CLEARANCE FILE LYING ON THE FOREIGN AFFAIR OFFICE DESK WITHOUT ANY ATTENTION ON A THOROUGH SCRUTINY I DISCOVERED THAT YOUR CONSIGNMENT HAVE BEEN ABANDONED BY YOUR DELIVERY AGENT. MEANWHILE, I WAS MADE TO UNDERSTAND THAT THEY HAVE TRY TO REACH YOU, BUT NO WAY AND THEY HAVE MADE SEVERAL ATTEMPTS TO CONTACT YOUR DELIVERY AGENT BUT TO NO AVAIL. TO MY GREATEST SURPRISE, DURING MY RECENT ROUTINE RE-CHECKING, I PERSONALLY DISCOVERED THAT YOUR CONSIGNMENT CONTENT DECLARATION DOCUMENTS STATED THAT YOUR CONSIGNMENT CONTAINS PERSONAL EFFECTS MEANWHILE, IT CONTAINS UNITED STATES DOLLAR BILLS WORTH OVER US$40 MILLION DOLLARS, WHICH MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE CONSIGNMENT TO BE DELIVERED TO YOU EARLIER BEFORE NOW.

BASED ON THIS PERSONAL DISCOVERY, I AM CONTACTING YOU NOW TO LET YOU KNOW THAT WITH MY POSITION AND POWER AS THE SECRETARY OF U.S DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, I CAN ASSIST YOU TO LEGALLY CLEAR YOUR CONSIGNMENT FUND, BUT YOU MUST AGREE WITH THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS. BECAUSE I HAVE CALLED OUR OFFICE IN WASHINGTON,DC FROM BENIN, WHO HAS BEEN INTERCEPTING ALL YOUR TELEPHONE CALLS, WITH THE HELP OF MTN, TIGO VODAFONE AND AIRTEL NETWORK BENIN.

I ALSO RECEIVED SOME INFORMATION FROM OUR HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICE IN BENIN REPUBLIC, ABOUT YOUR EMAILS, THAT YOU HAVE BEEN DEALING AND SENDING MONEY TO PEOPLES IN BENIN GHANA SOUTH AFRICA TOGO BENIN AND NIGERIA , WHO CLAIMS TO BE THE MONEY GRAM DIRECTOR. YOU ARE ALSO DEALING WITH A BANK, AND OTHER NAMES WHICH I AM STILL WAITING TO BE FORWARDED TO ME FROM OUR OFFICE IN WASHINGTON,DC. WHO HAVE MONITORED ALL YOUR DEALINGS WITH THIS HOODLUM. YOU ARE ADVICE TO HENCE FORT STOP FURTHER DEALINGS WITH ALL THE ABOVE MENTIONED PEOPLE, UNTIL WE COMPLETE OUR INVESTIGATION. BECAUSE YOUR DEALING WITH THEM IS TERMED AS ILLEGAL TRANSACTION.

I WISH TO INFORM THAT WE THE HOMELAND SECURITY IS ON LOOK OUT FOR ALL THE ABOVE MENTIONED NAME, MOSTLY THOSE WHO CLAIMS TO BE THE DIRECTOR OF WEST AFRICAN DEBT MONEY GRAM AND MONEY GRAM AND PROPERTY RECOVERY BENIN. ALL THIS MENTIONED PEOPLE ARE IMPOSTOR, AND WE INTEND TO APPREHEND THEM SOON. I WANT YOU TO PLEASE STOP COMMUNICATING, AND DEALING WITH THEM UNTIL WE COMPLETE OUR INVESTIGATION. I WISH TO NOTIFY YOU ABOUT THE LATEST DEVELOPMENT CONCERNING YOUR BOX OF CONSIGNMENT THAT WAS HANDLE OVER TO ME AFTER THE MEETING HELD BETWEEN ME AND SOME OF THE TOP PARLIAMENT MEMBERS OF BENIN AND THE FOREIGN AFFAIR MINSTER IN THE BENIN CAPITAL HEADQUARTERS COTONOU, DUE TO THE DELAY FOR YOU NOT HAVE RECEIVED YOUR CONSIGNMENT BOX FOR LONG TIME NOW.

ACCORDINGLY, WE HAVE WAIVED AWAY ALL YOUR CONSIGNMENT BOX CLEARANCE FEES AND AUTHORIZED THE GOVERNMENT OF BENIN REPUBLIC TO ALLOW ME FLY WITH THIS YOUR APPROVED CONSIGNMENT BOX TO YOU WITHOUT ANY DELAY WHICH THEY HAVE AGREED. THE ONLY FEE YOU WILL PAY TO CONFIRM YOUR CONSIGNMENT BOX RECEIVED IN YOUR POSSESSION IS THE WEIGHT FEE OF YOUR CONSIGNMENT BOX WHICH IS SUM OF $75.00 ONLY.

IN ORDER WORDS YOUR BOX IS WITH ME NOW AND I SHALL BE COMING TO YOUR COUNTRY AS SOON AS I HEAR FROM YOU AND I WILL BE COMING ALONG WITH YOUR BOX OF CONSIGNMENT,BUT REMEMBER THAT AS THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, I AM A US GOVERNMENT SECURITY AGENT AND I HAVE THE POWER TO GO THROUGH ANY AIRPORT CUSTOMS WITHOUT INSPECTING WHAT I CARRY ALONG. AND AS SOON AS I ARRIVE IN YOUR STATE I WILL GIVE YOU A PHONE CALL FOR YOU TO GIVE ME DIRECTION TO YOUR HOME ADDRESS SO THAT WE CAN MEET FACE TO FACE AND HAND OVER YOUR BOX TO YOU BEFORE PROCEEDING BACK TO THE STATES. SO I WANT YOU TO RE-CONFIRM TO ME THE BELOW INFORMATION FOR PROPER UNDERSTANDING BY FILLING THE ATTACH HOMELAND SECURITY REGISTRATION FORM OKAY.

BENEFICIARY NAME. . . . .
ADDRESS. . . .
TEL PHONE. . . . . . . . .
OCCUPATION. .  . . .
COUNTRY. . . . . . . . . . .
SEX. . . . . .. . . . . . . .

AS SOON AS I ARRIVE I SHALL CALL YOU ON YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER THEN MEET YOU IN PERSON AND HAND OVER YOUR CONSIGNMENT BOX TO YOU BEFORE I RETURN BACK TO WASHINGTON DC.
I HAVE TAKEN THIS ASSIGNMENT UPON MYSELF BECAUSE I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU HAVE REALLY PAID SO MUCH ON THE COST OF DELIVERY, BUT NOTHING WAS RECEIVED BY YOU. SO BE ADVICE TO CONTACT ME IMMEDIATELY YOU GET THIS EMAIL NOW BECAUSE EVERY THING HAS BEEN DONE OK. THIS IS DIRECTLY FROM OUR PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA. ONCE YOU SEND THE MONEY, TRY TO NOTIFY ME WITH THE MTCN FOR EASY PICK UP AND FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION ON THE DELIVERY OF YOUR CONSIGNMENT BOX,FOR YOU TO RECEIVE YOUR INHERITED FUNDS WITHOUT ANY FURTHER DELAY AGAIN . SINCE YOU WAS UNABLE TO RECEIVE IT SINCE .
SEND THE FEE VIA MONEY money gram TRANSFER.

RECEIVER’ PETER ONUORAH
COUNTRY:. . . . . . . . . .BENIN
CITY:. . . . . . . . . . . . COTONOU
AMOUNT:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$75.00
QUESTION:. . . . . . . . URGENT
ANSWER:. . . . . . .TODAY
MTCN:. . . . . . . . . .
Sender’s NAME . . . .
SENDER’S ADDRESS. . .

AS SOON AS YOU SEND THE FEE MAKE SURE YOU SEND ME THE PAYMENT INFORMATION.ONCE YOU SEND THE MONEY, TRY TO NOTIFY ME WITH THE MTCN FOR CONFIRMATION AND FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION ON THE HANDLING OVER OF YOUR FUND TO YOU.ALSO YOU ARE TO FORWARD TO US ANY MAIL THAT YOU HAVE BEEN RECEIVING FROM PEOPLE FOR PROPER VERIFICATION AND INVESTIGATION BEFORE YOU DEAL WITH THEM OKAY.

I HAVE A VERY LIMITED TIME TO STAY HERE SO I WOULD LIKE YOU TO URGENTLY RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE WITH THE PAYMENT , MY DEAR, THIS IS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU AND HAVE TO COMPLY AND YOUR BOX SHALL BE DELIVER TO YOUR DESIGNATED ADDRESS.BUT REMEMBER THAT AFTER (3 DAYS) YOU DID NOT MAKE THE PAYMENT THEN I WILL DIVERT YOUR FUNDS TO US GOVERNMENT FUND OR BENIN GOVERNMENT TREASURY. PLEASE TREAT THIS AS MATTER OF URGENCY.
SINCERELY YOURS,

BARR. JOHN KURTY
SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURIT

This is wrong on all possible levels:

  • Horrible grammar and spelling
  • American government officials don’t use the title “Barrister”
  • It’s written in all caps
  • The scammer invokes the name of God to try to make himself look virtuous.
  • Is his name John Kurty, Johnson William, or Richard Peter, or Peter Onuorah? The ignorant jimakplon can’t even keep his scam facts straight. Add to that the use of non-existent names which use common English surnames as given names or vice versa.
  • This guy is an idiot OKAY

I have a hard time not using language to describe these people that would not exceed the family-friendly nature of this blog. They are the hqiz of hqiz-eaters.

In case you got a similar email and were wondering, this is a scam.

the_money_picture

This does not exist.

Never send money to a stranger via Western Union, MoneyGram, or MoneyPak, or any other untraceable and unrecoverable means.

Stay safe out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Another phishing Scam to watch out for

scam-alerts2

Your Apple ID was just used to download Skate Simu 3$ from the App Store on a computer or device that had not previously been associated with that Apple ID.

To: (redacted)
Date: Oct 13 (2 days ago)

Dear W R Jonathan Graham, (clearly not my name)

Your Apple ID was just used to download Skate Simu 3$ from the App Store on a computer or device that had not previously been associated with that Apple ID.

This download was initiated from Morocco.

If you initiated this download, you can disregard this email. It was only sent to alert you in case you did not initiate the download yourself.

If you did not initiate this download, we recommend that you go to iforgot.apple.com to change your password, then see Apple ID: Security and your Apple ID for further assistance.

Regards,
Apple

TM and Copyright ı 2014 Apple Inc. 31-33, rue Sainte Zithe, L-2763 Luxembourg.
All rights reserved / Keep Informed / Privacy Policy / My Apple ID

The problem here is that in the email message, that “iforgot.apple.com” was a front for a redirect to another website, “dejewelady.com” (which has now been taken down), which redirected to a phishing page designed to gather personal information, passwords, and credit card data.

There are people working behind the scenes to protect the innocent – later in the day, this warning showed up at the top of the email:

Be careful with this message. Similar messages were used to steal people’s personal information. Unless you trust the sender, don’t click links or reply with personal information.

The links in the email had been disabled, and as indicated, the phishing website had been taken down. But it pays to be careful. It is rarely adviseable to click links in emails directly, but rather enter them yourself in the URL window.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.