Packaging Snake Oil

I’ve posted numerous times about health-related scams and sleazy marketing. For this reason, I have no small sense of irony spending time as a temp worker for a local nutraceutical company that serves many herbal and health-food concerns. Today I spent 8 hours helping to package about a million capsules of… wait for it… garcinia cambogia.

Temp work is fine, I guess. It’s pretty mindless work, although it can be physically demanding, and it provides some income where there would otherwise be none. But as one works, one’s mind drifts to the customers who will be buying this stuff at grossly inflated prices, thinking that this is the magic bullet to help them lose weight; it’s not, and they won’t. They’re just throwing money away on a powdered fruit product of dubious value.

Petroleum

From “Lucky Luke 18 – In the Shadow of the Derricks”

008

Competition was also lively in the 1740′s among some half a dozen proprietors marketing a form of crude petroleum under the name of British Oil. Early in the decade Michael and Thomas Betton were granted a patent for “An Oyl extracted from a Flinty Rock for the Cure of Rheumatick and Scorbutick and other Cases.” The source of the oil, according to their specifications, was rock lying just above the coal in mines, and this rock was pulverized and heated in a furnace to extract all the precious healing oil. (Old English Patent Medicines in America, George B. Griffenhagen and James Harvey Young. Found at the Gutenberg Project.)

Snake-oil salesmen have been around since the dawn of time. Sometimes they took the guise of shamans or medicine men – now they’re just con men and marketing specialists. Now, don’t get me wrong – I am a proponent of optimal nutrition including an adequate intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and co-factors, and there is a significant body of peer-reviewed science that documents beneficial effects from many natural sources: fruits, vegetables, plants, herbs, chemicals (think of aspirin), and so on. I have nothing against natural remedies, especially when there is adequate proof to show that they are effective. What rubs me the wrong way more than anything are the outrageous claims touted by advertorials and infomercials, picked up on by celebrities such as Oprah and Dr. Oz, and marketed in multiple millions of dollars to the gullible proletariat.

The nutritional industry is a trillion-dollar scam waiting to happen, and very little of what is sold imparts benefit commensurate with price paid. Add to that the fact that the landscape is so unregulated that one can claim almost anything as long as you include the standard disclaimer that your product is not intended to cure, prevent, diagnose or treat any disease, and that your claims are not approved by the FDA. That makes nutritional labeling similar to the CAN-SPAM act… you can get away with selling the moon as long as you word it right.

Let’s look at another product: Galaxy juice marketed by Joy Life international, a Chinese MLM company.

From their web page:

——–

GALAXY HIGH IMPACT JUICE BLEND

  1. Boosts energy levels in a novel way
  2. Contains a unique proprietary blend of antioxidant ingredients that may slow-down the aging process
  3. Enhances ability to focus and concentrate
  4. Taken with breakfast, this product has the singular unique property of reducing stress and in some manner enhances a positive outlook for the rest of the day
Ingredients:  Water, Super Fruit Blend: (Acia, Pineapple, White Grape, Pomegranate, Red Raspberry, Aronia, Red Grape, Cranberry, Elder-berry, Plum, Red Sour Cherry, Mangosteen, Goji), Chicory Root Extract, Xylitol, Super Food Blend: (Barley, Cayenne Pepper, Buckwheat, Flaxseed, Alfalfa Sprout, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Soy Isoflavones (40% Extract). Garlic 4:1, Wheatgrass 33:1), Antioxidant Blend: (Green Tea Extract, Alpha Lipoic Acid, DMAE, Idebenone, Ascorbic Acid), Citric Acid, Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.
——–
If this stuff boosts energy levels, it does so because of the natural sugars contained in the fruit blend, which is hardly novel; but I especially love the “in some manner,” which conjures up visions of handwavium and unobtainium. Don’t ask questions, it just works. Remember that Chinese medicine has largely been marketed to a Chinese population, a large percentage of whom are essentially ignorant of modern scientific realities. Were it not so, the rhinoceros would not be an endangered species today.
In Bernard Read’s translation of the 1597 Chinese materia medica “Pen Ts’ao Kang Mu”, the complete section on rhinoceros horn (“the best is from a freshly killed male animal”) reads as follows, with no mention of any aphrodisiac qualities:

“It should not be taken by pregnant women; it will kill the foetus. As an antidote to poisons (in Europe it was said to fall to pieces if poison were poured into it). To cure devil possession and keep away all evil spirits and miasmas. For gelsemium [jasmine] and snake poisoning. To remove hallucinations and bewitching nightmares. Continuous administration lightens the body and makes one very robust. For typhoid, headache, and feverish colds. For carbuncles and boils full of pus. For intermittent fevers with delirium. To expel fear and anxiety, to calm the liver and clear the vision. It is a sedative to the viscera, a tonic, antipyretic. It dissolves phlegm. It is an antidote to the evil miasma of hill streams. For infantile convulsions and dysentery. Ashed and taken with water to treat violent vomiting, food poisoning, and overdosage of poisonous drugs. For arthritis, melancholia, loss of the voice. Ground up into a paste with water it is given for hematemesis [throat hemorrhage], epistaxis [nosebleeds], rectal bleeding, heavy smallpox, etc. (Found at Save the Rhino)

But how is Galaxy juice being represented to their sales force, and hence by the sales force to potential customers? As an anti-cancer agent. Now, if US reps don’t want to run afoul of the FDA, they won’t say anything about that in a direct manner, but have a look at some of the slides from their own inspirational Powerpoint presentation:

slide-40-728[1]

slide-41-728[1]

slide-42-728[1]

slide-43-728[1]

slide-44-728[1]

Joy Life found a willing scientist, gave him a research grant, and wildly extrapolated his results. And a bottle of this fruit/grain concoction sells for $130.00 in China. Is it worthless? Well, looking at the ingredients, it’s probably a good source of antioxidants, but it won’t cure cancer, and it’s hardly worth the end-user price. Let it also be mentioned that Joy Life sells a few other things in the USA that are highly questionable, including:
  • The “Energy Cup“, a filtration system that ‘converts everyday drinking water into ionized, alkaline water, helping sustain the body’s natural pH levels
  •  The  “Anion Emitter” which is supposed to  ‘contain semi-precious stones infused with proprietary frequencies that carry a negative charge‘ designed to ‘bring the body into balance and energetic homeostasis while restoring health and reducing pain‘
  • The “Cation Shield“, Joy Life claiming it ‘helps strengthen your body’s bio-field while bathing you with the beneficial effects of negative ions to help combat EMFs.

Things of this nature fall directly into the quackery zone, and I’m astonished that they can get away with marketing this sort of garbage.

Fortunately for me, I won’t be working at this particular outlet much longer; another opportunity has come up which strikes me as being much more upstanding and worthwhile. But the size and scope of the former enterprise made me realize once again that the business of separating people from their hard-earned cash often has very little to do with providing honest value in return.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Followup to the Irish Lottery scammer

I mentioned a scam email from a Nigerian scammer earlier, and decided to yank their chains a bit. In the process, I discovered that these Lads from Lagos were a bit more inventive than the rest of their crowd.

So I wrote to “Mr. Stephanie Hughston” (is that anything like a Boy Named Sue?) just to see how they played their game.

To: transfer-online@ntwstbonline.co.uk
From: [redacted]
Subject: Contact Mr. Stephanie Hughston Re: Irish Prize

To whom it may concern:

I have been requested by Mr. Thomas Parker, online coordinator for the Irish Lottery, to contact you regarding the claim of my prize of €700,000, which is most wonderful. Please forward further details. I have included my data for your convenience.
Sincerely yours,
Wolfington X. Analemma
Here’s what came back:
From: NATWEST BANK ONLINE <transfer-online@ntwstbonline.co.uk>
To: [redacted]

Subject: RE: Contact Mr. Stephanie Hughston Re: Irish Prize

Attention: Wolfington X. Analemma,

 Compliment of the day to you from RBS Bank, we are here to serve you better. I am Mr. Stephanie Hughston, the Operations Executive/ Officer at NatWest Bank of London. We are in receipt of your demand draft approval from IRISH NATIONAL IRELAND/UK for the transfer of your prize amount with effective, safe and secure service. This bank has been instructed by the Irish National Lottery Anniversary Department,  to transfer the sum of €700,000.00 EUROinto an account in your name, in which your funds (BANK DRAFT) will be deposited to enhance further transfer to your local bank account into your Country.

  Meanwhile Wolfington X. Analemma You may give us a call during working hours for brief explanation via communication sequel to this funds transfer from this great Institution. Where finding Banking at its best. You may call my direct line for easy communication.   <+447010089271> 

  We are mandated by the IRISH NATIONAL IRELAND/UK to transfer the sum of 700,000.00 EURO, which was indicated by Head office (Irish National Lottery Board Ireland/UK.) to receive from this bank. Note however that payment will be transferred into a temporary online OFFSHORE Domiciliary bank account with us, which we enable you transfer the funds online into your local bank account in your Country . You will be free to ascertain a limited confirmation on this account and amount as it appears. More so in view to your e-mail to us, Irish National Lottery Board has issued out your fund particulars, origin certificate forwarded to our association head department of the NatWest Bank Plc by the Company Board for fund release which has been received by the Bank. This means that you have being officially cleared for fund release by the Verification Department at the headquarters of the NATWEST Bank Plc.

  To begin the Final step of the funds transfer process, which is the Payout of your funds as the legitimate beneficiary worth 700,000.00 EURO, with regards to this; you will have to set up an online temporary account for your winning prize online transfer to your local bank account in your Country.

ACCOUNT TRANSFER FORM
First Name________________
Last Name _______________
Residential Address_______________
Country Of Residence______________
City_____________
State________________
Zip Code________________
Valid Telephone Number________________
Office Telephone Number_______________
Date Of Birth ______________

NOTE: A SCAN COPY OF ANY OF YOUR IDENTITY CARD IS ALSO REQUIRED (PASSPORT OR DRIVER LICENSE)

   You are required to fill and send the form above to this office as soon as possible. On the above instructions, we solicit your co-operation to enable us dispense our duties and obligations swiftly. Thanking you in anticipation for your cooperation. Accept our felicitation and your immediate response is expected. We await your response. We thank you for your trust in our Banking System.

Thank you for your patronage.
Have a nice Day.

NATWEST BANK UK
London Branch Address:

45 Fulham Broadway,

London, UK,

United Kingdom

Telephone:  
+44 701 008 9271
Branch Banking Timing

Monday-Friday: 09:00 – 17:00

Saturday: 09:00 – 12:30

Sunday / Bank Holiday: No Banking
If this guy’s from London, I’m from Madagascar. The English is typical Mugu-ese, which is no surprise – and of course, the phone prefix is (44 70) which goes to somewhere else in the world. I send the requested information, along with a bogus driver’s license.
To: Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma
From: Mr Nashit Khan
Ref: Online Account Opened,Proceed with transfer online!

 
Attn: Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma
Dear Client,
Sir/Madam,


Thank you for contacting the NatWest Banking Institute London , At NatWest we seek to delight all our customers.Your questions and comments are important to us. Your mail has been received.
 

 I would like to say congratulations once again as your new account has been successfully set-up and credited. This is a notification to inform you that your account has been created/setup online from our transfer department to enable you transfer your funds to your nominated account online.


Please Note that you have a temporary Offshore Domiciliary account, the reason is because you are not our full client banking with us and because your account opening was free.


All temporary users must transfer their funds within two weeks,for this account is a temporary account. if it exceeds two weeks,your account will be inactive and can’t access statement of your account.


To Avoid this, all transfer must be made on time.

Here are the details of your Offshore Domiciliary account. You are required to Log into your internet Online Banking.

Here are the procedures to log in:


1: 
Click Here

Then click on  ” Click here to enter “

2: When the Pop up Window Display please enter your Account Number and Pin.


ACCOUNT NO:  
0777121047
PIN : 949

If this procedures are followed orderly,you won’t find it difficult to Log in. After you have successfully log into your account, you are to click of transfer and wait while a new page opens for you to input your bank account receiver details and click on transfer to proceed for your online transfer.


On the above instructions, we solicit your co-operation to enable us dispense our duties and obligations swiftly. Thanking you in anticipation for your cooperation. Accept our felicitation and your immediate response is expected. We await your response


We thank you for your trust in our Banking System. Do have a wonderful day as we look forward to providing you with all the best of our service. We await your swift response in other for we to proceed with your transactions.


Have a nice Day.

Regards,

Mr. Stephanie Hughston

NATWEST BANK UK

London Branch Address:

45 Fulham Broadway,

London, UK,

United Kingdom

Telephone:  +44 701 008 9271

Branch Banking Timing

Monday-Friday: 09:00 – 17:00

Saturday: 09:00 – 12:30

Sunday / Bank Holiday: No Banking
Just as a point of interest, notice that it’s hard to tell if the email is from Stephanie Hughston or Mr. Nashit Khan. I followed the indicated link, and got the following screen:
NatWest1
Clicking on the appropriate link I am taken to an official-looking popup:
NatWest2
which, when I have entered the “data” they provided me, sends me to another website:
ScamBank
Wow, it really looks like they’ve deposited a bunch of money into this account. Most of the Nigerian scammers don’t go to the trouble of setting up phony websites like this. At any rate, I click on the “transfer money” link and I get this:
ScamBank2
with an official-looking progress bar, but then this happens:
ScamBank3
Well, they didn’t mention anything about a “COT Code,” so I dutifully contact my “account officer:”
Greetings,
I have done as you recommended, however when I attempt to make the transfer I am presented with a screen that asks for a COT code. Please advise how to proceed.
-Wolfington X. Analemma
And back comes the “money shot:”
From: Mr. Stephanie Hughston
To: Mr. Wolfington X. AnalemmaRef: COT Code requirement by NatWest Bank.

Attn: Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma
Dear Client,
Sir
Compliment of the day to you.

Thank you for contacting the NatWest Banking Institute London , At NatWest we seek to delight all our customers.Your questions and comments are important to us. Your mail has been received, and we are pleased to inform you that we have received approval for the transfer of (€700,000.00 EURO) to your local nominated bank account. Sequel to the information of your files in our system and the immediate need of transfer of funds to your account.

The remittance department of the NatWest Banking Institute London hereby write to inform you that, Your transfer of funds would only be fully transferred to your account immediately the cost of handling charges/Transfer is been paid by you as the beneficiary of the funds as deposited with our bank. We shall provide you with the code as soon as you pay for its cost.

Sir, COT code is known as (COST OF TRANSFER ), It is a code that is given by the Head Department of NatWest bank to complete your online transfer of funds into your local bank account in United State . The Cot code charged for your online funds transfer into your local bank account is (€645 EURO).

Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma, the COT code will be release to you sooner we confirm your payment for cot code charge. Sir, I would like to speak with you upon acknowledgement of this email for Instruction on how to make payment for your cot code charges or via email for the payment instruction.

Note that your total amount has been insured to its real value as the funds have been deposited with a cover premium insurance bonded draft and as such funds cannot be deducted. This is in accordance with Article 44 Sub Section 144 of the England banking commission regulations as amended in the 1999 constitution. This is to protect clients and to avoid Misappropriation of funds.

On the above instructions, we solicit your co-operation to enable us dispense our duties and obligations swiftly. Thanking you in anticipation for your cooperation. Accept our felicitation and your immediate response is expected. We await your response.We thank you for your trust in our Banking System.

We await your swift response in other for we to proceed with your transactions.
Have a nice Day.
Regards,
Mr. Stephanie Hughston

When I asked how this “COT Code” is to be paid, this was the response:
To: Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma
From: Mr. Stephanie HughstonRef: COT Code requirement & Payment Instruction.

Attn: Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma
Dear Client,
Sir/Madam,
Compliment of the day to you.

Thank you for contacting the NatWest Banking Institute London , At NatWest we seek to delight all our customers.Your questions and comments are important to us. Your mail has been received and the content was well understood.

The remittance department of the NatWest Bank,United Kingdom hereby write to inform you that, Your transfer of funds would only be fully transferred to your account immediately the cost of handling charges/Transfer is been paid by you as the beneficiary of the funds as deposited with our bank. We shall provide you with the code as soon as you pay for its cost.

The cost of handling charges for your transfer of funds is €645 EURO . This cost of handling charges must be paid without delay to enable the speedy transfer of your funds to your Account. Find below the amount to make for the transfer of funds to your account:

Sum Total: €645 EURO

Sequel to your email, the total payment of €645 EURO should be paid via the nearest Money Gram outlet close to you. You are to pay a total €645 EURO only. This cost of handling charges/transfer must be paid without delay to enable the speedy transfer of your funds to your Account upon applying the cot code online . Find below the amount charge for cot code to enable the speedy release of funds to your account :

This payment for the COT is to be made out to the account department agent of our Money Gram receiving Unit, here in London,. She is the bank’s Account Officer by the Money Gram transfer Service from overseas customers only.
Please you are advices to make the payment to;

ACCOUNT AGENT DETAILS:
Name of Receiver: MRS. KATE JEFFERSON
Address: LONDON WC2A 2AE,
UNITED KINGDOM.

You are require to get back to us with the information below after payment.

1. Name of Sender ………
2. Address of Sender ……..
3. Total Amount Sent ……….
4. Reference Number . (REF 8digit)………….

NOTE: A SCAN COPY OF YOUR MONEY GRAM PAYMENT SLIP SHOULD BE ATTACHED VIA EMAIL TO THIS OFFICE FOR REFERENCE PURPOSE.

The Money Gram service provides a flexible means of sending funds overseas and also we make such transaction in our bank, and has been specially designed to meet your business needs in terms of cost and speedy Payments are sent using an electronic bank-to-bank transfer. which is suitable for both urgent and less time critical payments and enables the secure transfer of funds from the United Kingdom to overseas beneficiaries. When we receive the above payment information we shall immediately dispense our duties by releasing the cot code to complete your transfer into your Nominated bank as applied online for your transfer.

On the above instructions, we solicit your co-operation to enable us dispense our duties and obligations swiftly. Thanking you in anticipation for your cooperation. Accept our felicitation and your immediate response is expected. We await your response.We thank you for your trust in our Banking System.

Note: Give me a call as soon as your payment is done and provide details as requested respectively. We await your swift response in other for we to proceed with your transactions.

So now we’re back to the regular protocol. “Send us money via Western Union.” If I have not repeated this advice enough throughout this blog, here it is again: NEVER DO THIS. It’s always a scam. I told the drone I’d send him the money later that day. A couple of days go by, and I get this from him:
To: Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma
From: Mr. Stephanie HughstonRef: COT Code requirement & Payment Instruction.

Attn: Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma
Dear Client,
Sir/Madam,
Compliment of the day to you.

Thank you for contacting the NatWest Banking Institute London , At NatWest we seek to delight all our customers.Your questions and comments are important to us. Your mail has been received and the content was well understood.

Sir, what is the status of your payment as earlier promised?.

NOTE: A SCAN COPY OF YOUR MONEY GRAM PAYMENT SLIP SHOULD BE ATTACHED VIA EMAIL TO THIS OFFICE FOR REFERENCE PURPOSE.

The Money Gram service provides a flexible means of sending funds overseas and also we make such transaction in our bank, and has been specially designed to meet your business needs in terms of cost and speedy Payments are sent using an electronic bank-to-bank transfer. which is suitable for both urgent and less time critical payments and enables the secure transfer of funds from the United Kingdom to overseas beneficiaries. When we receive the above payment information we shall immediately dispense our duties by releasing the cot code to complete your transfer into your Nominated bank as applied online for your transfer.

On the above instructions, we solicit your co-operation to enable us dispense our duties and obligations swiftly. Thanking you in anticipation for your cooperation. Accept our felicitation and your immediate response is expected. We await your response.We thank you for your trust in our Banking System.

Note: Give me a call as soon as your payment is done and provide details as requested respectively. We await your swift response in other for we to proceed with your transactions.

Have a nice Day.
Regards,
Mr. Stephanie Hughston

He’s wondering where his money is. Sometimes, as you have seen before, I’ll send him a bogus MTCN and scan of a Western Union receipt just to see how many times I can get him scurrying back to Western Union to pick up non-existent funds, but this time I feel like it’s time to pull the plug.
To: NATWEST BANK ONLINE <transfer-online@ntwstbonline.co.uk>
From: [redacted]
Subject: Status of Payment

Cc:

Oh, did you actually think I was going to send you some money? I’m sorry I won’t be there to see the disappointment on your face. I’ve had fun wasting your time and getting your hopes up.You are a liar, a scammer, and a criminal. May Olumba Olumba Obu send black powder, disease and death to you and every other 419 onioburu.

Dem no born you reach, mugu – u no fit comot face, just skip along.

nigerians

gameover
And their response?
cricket… cricket… cricket…
Once again, be careful out there. This one was well-crafted enough (despite the bad English, which amazingly some people won’t pick up on) to fool vulnerable or ill-informed individuals. Protect and educate your loved ones against this kind of douchebaggery.
The Old Wolf has spoken.

It’s only a Done Deal if you give these scammers your credit card number

donedealscam

Notice the legitimate address for DoneDeal up there? It’s http://www.donedeal.ie, the home page of a legitimate Irish commercial site.

No surprises, then, that when the email leads you to http://recza.com.mx/donedealone/[obfuscated], red flags wave, sirens blare, and bells ring. Why would DoneDeal be using a web host in Mexico?

Of course, they wouldn’t. This is a phishing scam, pure and simple. I’ve received two in the last couple of days, the second pointing to a different website after the first one was shut down. You fill out an innocent-looking survey (and if you believe that they will pay you €150.00 for that 30-second effort, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you) and then you’re taken to a page where you enter your credit card details and other critical personal information:

Survey2

Most of my readers here know how to recognize a phishing scam from miles away, but most of us have loved ones and friends who may not be computer literate. Protect them; educate them; teach them NEVER to give out their financial data online unless they know what they’re doing.

DoneDeal knows about these bottom-feeders; whether they can do anything about them is debatable, but forewarned is forearmed.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Shipping Scams: One way the Nigerians find their accomplices

I have received over the last year or so around a dozen fraudulent checks from Nigerian Craigslist scammers, about whom I have posted previously. I received an email today which illustrates one method by which they get people in the USA to act as their stooges.

New_Mail_Scam_for_Stealing_Identities1

—————————

From: Andrew Joycelyn JoycxuelfaynAncudrew@outlook.com
 To: Me
A US based organization is looking for Mail Associates. This position requires no special knowledge besides entry-level computer skills and physical ability to work with correspondence and dispatches.
Perfectly fitting for stay-at-home moms, retirees and business owners who reside in the personal office during the day.

The work pressure is around five hours every day.

Duties:

- Accepting of correspondence and dispatches
- Checking whether the contents match the description
- Submitting photos 
- Sending shipments to clients
- Submitting of simple reports via our website

Prerequisites:

- A postal address anywhere in the United States
- Can work take responsibility 
- A personal car to deliver mail to the nearest USPS locations
- Physical ability to lift up to 25 lbs

This is a permanent job with a compensation of up to $2,000 net per month.

Should you become interested in this job offer, kindly reply to this email, and we will contact you at our earliest convenience.

——————–
Whatever kind of “work” these drones are offering, you can be certain it’s not legitimate. In addition to printing and mailing fraudulent checks, criminals also use people like this to forward illicit items or stolen property. My suspicion is that anyone who applies will also be taken advantage of monetarily in some way.
The following text is from the Postal Inspectors’ website:

Don’t Be the Victim of a Reshipping Scam!

Have you been asked to receive packages at your home or business and mail them to someone else? Postal Inspectors advise: Don’t do it!

Criminals who conduct reshipping scams recruit victims through a variation of one of these scenarios:

Work-at-Home Scams

Criminals often post phony job announcements at Internet career sites, offering positions such as “merchandising manager,” “package processing assistant,” or a similar title. Job duties generally include receiving packages and mailing them to a foreign address on behalf of a client. The websites may look legitimate, and they may offer to send you postage-paid mailing labels.

The real story? The offers come from criminals who buy merchandise with stolen credit cards and need help smuggling the goods out of the country. Even the mailing labels are phony. And you are committing a felony when you help out these criminals.

What should you do if you’ve been tricked into
one of these scams?

  • Don’t accept packages at your address for people you don’t know.
  • Stop all communication with operators who try to solicit your help in reshipping items.
  • If you already have merchandise from such an offer, don’t mail it.
  • Keep all correspondence (e-mails, faxes, etc.) related to these scams.
  • Contact Postal Inspectors at 1-877-876-2455. They’ll help you return stolen items back to the proper owners.
Also be aware of “Sweetheart Scams” and “Charity Scams” out lined in the same PDF document.
Stay away from such spurious offers; you’re dealing with the worst kind of soulless criminal, and will only stand to lose money and a whole lot more.
The Old Wolf has spoken.

Scam: You can’t win a lottery you didn’t enter

TAKE NOTE:

Lottery-Fraud-Postcard

From: IRISH LOTTERY <parkerdskirish@hotmail.com>
To: <redacted>
Subject: RE: Irish Prize

IRISH GOVERNMENT ACCREDITED LICENSED IRISH WEB LOTTERY

IS REGISTERED UNDER THE DATA PROTECTION ACT OF
(Registration Z720633X).

The Irish Lottery
47 Meadow Vale,
Sligo, Ireland
Ref: UK/9420X2/68
Batch: 074/05/ZY369
Tel (+44) 701 002 8673

CONGRATULATIONS!
We happily announce to you the draw (#1004) of the IRISH LOTTERY online Sweepstakes International program held on the 30th of March 2014. It is now available for claims and you are getting the final NOTIFICATION as regards this.

Your e-mail address attached to ticket number: 5647560050000 with Serial number 5368/02 drew the lucky numbers:02, 05, 09, 16, 18, 41, (bonus no.03), which subsequently won you the lottery in the 1st category i.e match 5 plus bonus.You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of 700,000.00 EURO (Seven hundred thousand Euros) in cash credited to file KTU/902311308/03. This is from a total cash prize of 3,600,000 (Three million, Four hundred thousand euros) shared among the (6) lucky winners in this category i.e Match 5 plus bonus. All participants for the online version were selected randomly from World Wide Web sites through computer draw system and extracted from over 100,000 unions, associations, and corporate bodies that are listed online.Please note that your lucky winning number falls within our European booklet representative office in Europe as indicated in your play coupon. In view of this, your 700,000.00 EURO (Seven hundred thousand Euros) will be released to you by any of our payment offices in Europe.

We are once again happy with you that you have won the IRISH LOTTERY PROMOTION. Our European agent will immediately commence the process to facilitate the release of your funds.
Before we can gives you instructions on further step of your claims, you are advice to fill the claims below and get back to me for further instructions.

FULL NAME:________
SEX:________
COMPANY: IF ANY _________
FULL CONTACT ADDRESS:_________
PHONE:_________
AGE:____
CELL:____
CITY:_____
STATE:________
ZIP CODE:______
COUNTRY: ______
OCCUPATION: _____

For enquirers, more information and to file your claim, all contact should be forwarded to us via this email.

Congratulations from me and members of staff of THE IRISH LOTTERY.

Yours faithfully,
Thomas Parker (Mr)
Phone: (+44) 701 002 8673
Online coordinator for THE IRISH LOTTERY
Sweepstakes International Program.(Ireland)

 EDIT: Just continuing on with these Lads from Lagos so you can see how the scam plays out. Red flags and gross errors are marked in red.

IRISH GOVERNMENT ACCREDITED LICENSED IRISH WEB LOTTERY
IS REGISTERED UNDER THE DATA PROTECTION ACT OF
(Registration Z720633X).

The Irish Lottery
47 Meadow Vale,
Sligo, Ireland
Ref: UK/9420X2/68
Batch: 074/05/ZY369
Tel (+44) 701 002 8673

Congratulations: Wolfington X. Analemma,
Congratulation once again your winning price has just been handed over to NATWEST BANK . We wish to inform you as a winner in this year IRISH ONLINE Award. Your check (Bank Draft) has been registered and deposited as a Bank Draft with the (NATWEST BANK) London, UK.

Contact the Bank via email as given below, NATWEST, Your winning check (700,000.00 EURO) was deposited with NATWEST, Kindly contact NatWest for transfer of your winning prize (BANK DRAFT) deposited from the National Lottery Department (IRISH LOTTERY).
You are to contact Mr. Stephanie Hughston ( +447010089271 ) Email: transfer-online@ntwstbonline.co.uk that is in charge of your fund right now in NATWEST BANK OF LONDON who will give instruction to the transfer department to commence on the transfer into the bank account details that is required by the NATWEST bank.

Operations Executive Officer NatWest Bank of London.
Mr. Stephanie Hughston
transfer-online@ntwstbonline.co.uk
+447010089271

Once again congratulation from me and member staff of the IRISH SWEETSTAKE ONLINE
For any clarification, kindly call IRISH Claim office Tell: +447010028673

Yours faithfully,
Thomas Parker (Mr)
Phone: (+44) 701 002 8673
Online coordinator for THE IRISH LOTTERY
Sweepstakes International Program.(Ireland)

By Mogg’s holy grandfather, can the grammar, spelling, and overall English be any worse? Who could possibly believe that this is from any official body in Ireland or the UK? Be aware that the Irish Lottery is aware of this ongoing game by the Lads from Lagos:

Please note – There are an ever-growing number of Irish lotto e-mail scams. Although these scammers have used our name and address in their fraudulent e-mails we are NOT involved in any way with any of these scams.

Please visit http://europeanlottery.net/scam/lotto_scams.html for more information.

An Excerpt:

There are an ever-growing number of lottery scams circulating in the world wide web. Although these scammers have used the name and address of Irish and UK Subscription Services in their fraudulent e-mails, we would like to stress that ILS is NOT involved in any way with any of these scams.

Please be vigilant. These lottery scams are cleverly and convincingly written, but deceptive and completely fraudulent. Thousands of people have lost money paying “commissions” and “charges” to receive cash prizes they’ve been told (falsely) they’ve won. Take for example, the latest Irish Lottery Scam which comes with a forged ILS cheque with your name on it! The opportunists behind these scams are stealing large amounts of money from gullible people and they tarnish the integrity of legitimate marketers of Government Lotteries.

If you have any doubt at all about the legitimacy of a lottery prize “win” you’re mailed or emailed about, just email us atsales@irishlotto.net or sales@irishsubscription.net  An ILS Representative will be very glad to assist you.

The rest of the page is very informative and worth reading.

—————

Just posting this in case anyone else gets this fraudulent email and does a search on the information. Please note the following facts:

  • You can never win a lottery you did not enter
  • There are no “international tombolas,” or lotteries that choose winners from random emails
  • NEVER pay money to collect a prize of any sort.
  • Participating in overseas lotteries is illegal in many countries anyway, particularly the USA. The Irish Lottery and the Spanish Gordo are two favorite cover stories for liars, thieves, scammers, and hqiz-eaters.
  • Again we see a (+44 70) prefix. THIS IS NOT A UK NUMBER: If you call it, you’re speaking to someone in Nigeria or elsewhere in Africa, in all likelihood.

Be careful out there. The number of people out there who want your hard-earned money and who will stop at nothing to get it is rising as the Internet becomes more accessible to larger sections of third-world countries.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Notice to Appear in Court (Scam/Malware)

bigstock-Malicious-malware-warning-mess-41722204-1024x819

(Thanks to Techsrus for the image)

My cubicle neighbor (at the job we just both got laid off from yesterday, but that’s another story) showed me a couple of emails he had gotten in his Gmail account – each sported the header “Notice to Appear in Court.”  I told him they were probably scam threat letters and hoping to extort money.

I got one myself today, and decided to explore it a little further.

—————-

From: “Notice to Appear in Court” <customerssupport231@kaiserarbitrationlawyers.com>
To: <redacted>

Subject: Notice to appear in court SN8157

Notice to appear in court,

Hereby you are notified that you have been scheduled to appear for your hearing that will take place in the court of Detroit in April 03, 2014 at 11:30 am.You are kindly asked to prepare and bring the documents relating to the case to court on the specified date.The copy of the court notice is attached to this letter. Please, read it thoroughly.
Note: The case may be heard by the judge in your absence if you do not come.Yours very truly,
SAMPSON Hays
Clerk of court
—————————–
Attached was a file called “Notice_to_Appear_TY4769.zip”
Unpack this zip folder and you find a file called “Court Notice.exe”. That file lasted less than one second on my desktop, as Microsoft Security Essentials immediately quarantined it. The .exe file contained a Trojan Downloader named Win32/Kuluoz.D, which Microsoft describes as follows:
Win32/Kuluoz is a trojan that tries to steal passwords that are stored in certain applications and sensitive files from your PC. This trojan could also download other malware to your PC, like other variants of Win32/Kuluoz and Win32/Sirefef, and variants of rogue security software likeWin32/FakeSysdef and Win32/Winwebsec. This threat tries to hack your email accounts and file transfer programs.
In other words, really nasty stuff.
This is a perfect example of why you should do the following things on your computer to practice safe computing:

1. Always display file extensions. This option is turned off by default by Microsoft on its newer operating systems, which in my opinion is a dangerous and foolhardy idea. This means that instead of seeing “Notice_to_Appear_TY4769.zip” and “Court Notice.exe”, you would only see “Notice_to_Appear_TY4769″ and “Court Notice.” To fix this, follow the procedure below for your operating system:

To show or hide file name extensions (Windows 7)

  1. Open Folder Options by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Folder Options.

  2. Click the View tab, and then, under Advanced settings, do one of the following:

    • To show file name extensions, clear the Hide extensions for known file types check box, and then click OK.

    • To hide file name extensions, select the Hide extensions for known file types check box, and then click OK.

Example

To show or hide file name extensions (Windows 8)

  • Open Windows Explorer and go to “View” and then click the Options button > Change folder and search options
  • Scroll to “Hide extensions for file types is known”
  • Uncheck it and click OK.

To show or hide file name extensions (Windows XP)

  • Double Click on My Computer.
  • Click on Tools > Folder Options… in the menus.
  • Click on the View tab.
  • Remove the check from Hide extensions for known file types.
  • Click the OK button.

2) Make sure you have robust malware detection software installed. AVG Free, Microsoft Security Essentials, and Kaspersky are all good options. The first two are free, the third reasonably priced and somewhat more robust than the other two.

3) ☞ NEVER ☜ open attachments from unknown senders, especially a file that contains “.exe” anywhere in its name.

(Did I make that emphatic enough? I’d make it blink if I could.)

A lot of folks are savvy enough to spot this as a scam in an instant, but this particular email is official-looking enough to scare a lot of vulnerable computer users; the scammers don’t care if you actually appear anywhere – they just want you to open that never-to-be-sufficiently-damned attachment. If you are technically savvy and you have loved ones, either elderly or otherwise vulnerable, watch out for them. Educate them. You don’t want them becoming victims of scams or nefarious behavior like botnets.

This has been an Old Wolf public service announcement.

Another Scam Phone Prefix: +4487

?????????????

Image from Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services

This one was new to me. It’s long been known that phone numbers which begin with 4470, or 44 070, are designed to look like United Kingdom numbers, but which actually forward to anywhere in the world – usually Nigeria or some other rat-infested internet cafe where scammers tend to cluster.

Last week I got this cute email from a potential “lover:”

Good day my friend, my name is Priya Kadam .I’m 26 years old girl lives in England, but originated from India, I was impressed when I saw your profile and I will like to establish a long lasting relationship with you. Once again ,I am the only daughter of Mr. Nilesh Kadam, my parents are late, and I am living alone , for the past 3 years and life is not easy with me since the painful exit of my late parents in a Fatal car accidents which took their life’s instantly.
But all is now in the past, as I have moved on, and I am grateful that I survive and made it at last.

So to cut the whole story shot, I am very willing to relocate with you, if only you can treat me well and as woman and be my man forever, as I have made all the fortune to sustain our lives with our un-born children, if we invest wisely.

I had a deal with some white dude here, which I was able to stole some huge sum of money from them[1] and now they are in search of me, and they cannot find me because I am in hide out as I am writing this mail to you, but I assure you nothing will happen to me because, them don’t know my country of origin , they thought I am from Lebanon,

So I have in my possession, cool cash of ? 1.5Million Great British Pounds with me, and I am ready to invest it with you, if I am convinced that you will not betray me or treat me bad.
Below attachment are my photos for your identification and I will also like to see yours, in case you are interested with my proposal.

Have a nice day sweetie and waiting to hear from you
Miss Priya Kadam
Cell phone.+448712379440

Beside the usual “Lonely Heart” scam, take note of the phone number: Prefixes like +4487 or +44 087 are also national link prefixes that forwards anywhere in the world. These numbers are not in the UK.

The quantity of human refuse who wants your money and who will stop at nothing to get it is growing at a frightening rate. Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


[1] In addition to the horrid grammar, notice that this “lady” freely admits that she is a thief, and wants you to be complicit in her crimes in exchange for access to her money. How stupid or desperate would you have to be to fall for something so patently false?

Hackers around the world

Holy Mother of Mogg!

I don’t use my Hotmail account very often, but I keep it around for a few odd reasons. I just saw a post at reddit and thought I’d better check my own account.

Hackers

And that’s only the last few days!

Folks wonder why their email accounts get hacked; with this kind of assault, if you don’t have a strong password, it’s very likely your email account will be taken over by some random hqiz-eater and used for sending out spam or malware.

Takeaway: Use Strong Passwords! In some ways it may be like keeping honest people honest, but for the average user, it’s usually the best form of prevention. As for the bottom-feeding scumbags, by the sacred skull of Mogg’s grandfather, may the universe reward them according to their works.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Practice Safe Computing!

This can’t be stressed enough, or repeated often enough. Just got an email today in my business account that looked like this:

Dear Sir/Madam,

The attached payment advice is issued at the request of our customer.

The advice is for your reference only.

Yours faithfully,
Global Payments and Cash Management
HSBC

***************************************************************************

This is an auto-generated email, please DO NOT REPLY. Any replies to this email will be disregarded.

***************************************************************************
Security tips

1. Install virus detection software and personal firewall on your
computer. This software needs to be updated regularly to ensure you
have the latest protection.
2. To prevent viruses or other unwanted problems, do not open
attachments from unknown or non-trustworthy sources.
3. If you discover any unusual activity, please contact the remitter of
this payment as soon as possible.
***************************************************************************

*******************************************************************
This e-mail is confidential. It may also be legally privileged.
If you are not the addressee you may not copy, forward, disclose
or use any part of it. If you have received this message in error,
please delete it and all copies from your system and notify the
sender immediately by return e-mail.

Internet communications cannot be guaranteed to be timely,
secure, error or virus-free. The sender does not accept liability
for any errors or omissions.
*******************************************************************
“SAVE PAPER – THINK BEFORE YOU PRINT !

ttcopy.zip


Unfortunately, far too many people will be stung by a generic sounding email like this. “Wow, someone sent me money!” will be the initial response, and they’ll happily unzip and execute the attached “payment notice.”

Unfortunately that attached file is not a payment notice, but an executable file (a program) which will infect your computer with malware, adware, spyware, and heaven knows what else; turn your machine into part of a robotic network (a botnet) for spreading spam and viruses, search for passwords and sensitive financial data, encrypt all your files and demand a ransom to unlock them (this is a particularly nasty one), or any number of other unholy things.

cryptolocker

I’m going to shout here: NEVER OPEN EMAIL ATTACHMENTS FROM PEOPLE YOU DO NOT KNOW AND TRUST!111

If WordPress supported blinking text, I’d use that obnoxious tag too, just to make sure I had your attention.

Be especially wary of any file that ends in “.exe”. This is one of the basic rules of safe computing, but far too many people don’t know about it. One of the worst things Microsoft ever did was to suppress the display of file extensions by default, assuming people didn’t care or wouldn’t understand what they are for. As a result, far too many people are simply ignorant of the dangers inherent in clicking email attachments that could be programs. All they would see in the above message would be “ttcopy.”

Notice the ironic security warning in the body of the email itself: “To prevent viruses or other unwanted problems, do not open
attachments from unknown or non-trustworthy sources.” This is misdirection at its finest; people will be grateful for the warning, if they even bother to read it, and happily execute the malicious payload.

The executive summary here: NEVER OPEN EMAIL ATTACHMENTS FROM PEOPLE YOU DO NOT KNOW AND TRUST!

The Old Wolf has spoken.

An Especially Devious Spam Comment.

People can be so bloody dishonest it makes my brains hurt. This comment showed up on my post regarding combating elder fraud:

I don’t know if it’s just me or if everybody else encountering problems with your blog.

It looks like some of the text on your content are running off the screen.
Can someone else please provide feedback and let me know if
this iis happening to them too? This may be a issue with my
browser because I’ve had this happen previously. Manyy thanks

Looks legitimate and reasonable, except for the lousy spelling, but I know a lot of bad spellers and bad typists.

What was the dead giveaway was the user name: “Miracle Dr. Oz garcinia cambogia dosage,” and the link to a spammy review website promoting this worthless garbage, which then links to an even spammier order page. Dr. Oz should be ashamed of himself; he’s the health world’s “Mr. Popiel,” hawking anything and everything to the drooling viewers of late-night cable stations and internet infomercials.

As for this comment… into the spam can it goes. I won’t be increasing your SEO rankings, thank you, and what I would like to say to people who do this sort of thing – not to mention those who hawk worthless snake oil to the gullible masses – is not fit for a family-friendly blog.

Old_Wolf_Curse

The Old Wolf has spoken.