Loan Sharking: Alive and Well

loanshark

I recently had brought to my attention the existence of a company called “LoanMe,” which pre-qualified a redditor for a $10,600 loan at an APR of 99.75% with a $70,000 payback.

loan (1)

I knew credit cards had outrageous interest rates of 18% and above, but I had no idea they were being outdone by orders of magnitude in the world of high finance.

Have a look at rates available in Utah from this company:

loan

This is from LoanMe’s own website – with the next column in red calculated out  by me and showing the total payoff.

For a $5,000 loan you’d be paying $36476.04 in interest over 7 years. For an even smaller loan of $2600, you would pay $15729.80 in interest over just shy of 4 years.

Predatory practices of this nature are incomprehensible; I thought we had laws against usury in this country, but I guess we don’t.

Be careful out there, and avoid those who would rob you in broad daylight under the loving protection of the law.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

 

A dozen Crypto attempts today

crypto

All of these arrived in my inbox today; many are duplicated versions of the same message with minor changes.

Dear info,
Cathleen Holcomb asked me to send you the attached Word document, which contains the final version of the report.
Please let me know if you have any trouble with the file, and please let Cathleen know if you have any questions about the contents of the report.
Kind regards
Alisa Harper
Managing Director
Notice that all of these emails begin with “Dear Info,” since the relevant address is “info@devnull.com.” This in itself should be a red flag.
Dear info:
Thank you for your email regarding your order of 21 June, and sorry for the delay in replying. I am writing to confirm receipt of your order, and to inform you that the item you requested will be delivered by 25 June at the latest. If you require more information regarding this order, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Also, our records show that we have not yet received payment for the previous order of 11 June, so I would be grateful if you could send payment as soon as possible. Please find attached the corresponding invoice.
If there is anything else you require, our company would be pleased to help. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Yours sincerely
Benjamin Martin
Chief Executive Officer
Information. A report. An invoice with request for payment. A spreadsheet. All looking innocuous and legitimate.
Dear info,
The reference you requested is attached.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Best regards
Erma Frederick
CEO
No matter how official emails like this look, you should verify every detail before proceeding.
Dear info,
Our records show that we have not yet received payment for the previous order #A-393685
Could you please send payment as soon as possible?
Please find attached file for details.
Yours sincerely
Jami Garrett
Mexico Key Account Director
Don’t open those attachments! They are almost certainly javascript files which will download an encryption virus or something equally vicious.
Be careful out there.
The Old Wolf has spoken.

Infect your computer from home!

From: <my email address>
To: <my email address>

Subject: Cooperarion with a large firm

Hello!

We are looking for employees working remotely.

My name is [Audra|Joni|Gus|Emily], I am the personnel manager of a large International company. (I got four of these in my mailbox today).
Most of the work you can do from home, that is, at a distance.
Salary is $2500-$5000.

If you are interested in this offer, please visit Our Site

Best regards!

If you’re careless enough to click that link (disabled above), what you’ll be taken to is this:

http://yaseminalkaya.xyz/wp-content/plugins/easy-tables-vc/xxxxxx/lib/jquery-handsontable/test/jasmine/spec/settings/

whereupon your computer will promptly be infected with an encryption virus or some other evil chicanery.

Do not respond to emails like this, and do not click embedded links!

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The Auto Warranty Scam

“We don’t actually send out any paperwork without receiving a down payment.”

This from an article by ConsumerMan, written in 2008, addressing the onslaught of fraudulent extended auto warranty offers by mail and by phone.

And here it is, 2016, and the tide has not turned. In the last couple of months, I have received virtually dozens of these solicitations to purchase an extended auto warranty (the companies not realizing that my Prius is already at 165,000 miles in 9 years, and hence ineligible by anyone’s standards.) Here are just 3 examples:

Auto3Auto2

Auto1

An article at Edmunds.com also addresses this ongoing plague. Granted, there’s no way of telling just from a solicitation that any given company is fraudulent or reputable, but the fact that there are so many of these things hitting my mailbox and email and even my phone is a pretty good indication to me that there is a huge and lucrative market for these things, and wherever there’s money to be made the roaches will scurry out of the woodwork.

By the time your manufacturer’s warranty has expired – many of them run up to 7 years or 110,000 miles or even more – your car’s pretty much past its day and you should think very hard about whether purchasing an insurance policy (that’s what these are) is really worth it.

Beware of high-pressure sales tactics and “limited time” offers. Research any company and/or policy carefully before sending any money to anyone. And for heaven’s sake, if a salesman tells you, “We don’t actually send out any paperwork without receiving a down payment,” run away fast.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

“Dearest in the Lord” – Yes, it’s a scam

Ever get an email like this?

I am Mrs Julie Mayo from United Kingdom. However I know this message may come to you as a surprise, please consider this with all seriousness as I solicit your assistance in the most polite language.
I went through your profile and counted you worthy for this project. I am a dying woman who had decided to donate what I have to Charities. I am 63 years old by age, and was diagnosed of cancer about two years ago immediately after the death of my husband, Life for me in this world is not that important again since we are passing our life in this world so we can have a place in heaven. I have been touched by God to donate from what I have inherited from my late husband for the good work of God, rather than allow his relatives to use my husband’s hard earned funds ungodly.
As I lay on my sick bed, I want you to help me in carrying out my last wish on earth which will be very profitable to you. I want to donate a total sum of ($5.2 Million United States Dollars) to you which I want you to distribute part of it to any charity organisation and for your kindness on this project you are to carry out, I am offering you 30% while 70% of the fund will go to any Charity organizations of your choice for me, please I am looking forward to hearing from you soon so that I can give you more details.
Regards,
Mrs Julie

Guess what? It’s a scam.

Millions of these fraudulent emails are blasted out all over the world from internet cafes in Nigeria, Eastern Europe, and other countries where people have very little money and even fewer morals.

Bad grammar, awkward English, and anything referring to millions of dollars to be split by percentage are red flags for advance-fee fraud, at which so many Africans are supremely adept. The Nigerians even have a song about “the game” – somehow they think that since they’re poor and you’re rich, anything they can get from you is fair game.

There is no money for you in Africa or anywhere else. Never respond to emails like this, unless you’re happy to give your hard-earned resources to criminals.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Please: never respond to a letter like this

Scam letter. Never respond, never fall for these lies.

CONGRATULATIONS

we are pleased to inform you of the result of the just clouded annual final draws of Yahoo FAIR LONDON international programs. You are therefore been approve to Claim the sum of £850,000.00Eight hundred and Fifty Thousand POUNDS.) Your E-mail address is one of 7 lucky Addresses that have won in the Weekly Promotion.                

PAYMENT OF PRIZE AND CLAIM

Winners shall be paid in accordance with his/her Settlement Center. Yahoo Prize Award must be claimed thought their Accredited Agents in South Africa and United Kingdom? Any prize not claimed would be forfeited. Stated below are your identification numbers:
BATCH NUMBER: MFI/06/APA-43658
REFERENCE NUMBER: 2006234522
PIN: 1206
SECRET CODE: 1976
These numbers fall within the SOUTH AFRICA Location file, you are requested to Contact our fiduciary agent in SOUTH AFRICA and send your winning identification Numbers to him, and He is JOHN MORE Consortium. Make sure that you call the African Claim Agent JOHN MORE First and send him all your winning details through mail. Don’t fail to contact him through to contact him through Telephone or email and through email, it is very important that you call him or send email first be sure of your Winning. For further confirmation Please call Claim agent office at SOURCE: INTRALOT S.A. media release CONTACT: Financial Analysis & Investor Relations Manager. SIR JOHN MORE
SIR. JOHN MORE
Fax: 44-870- 974-6825
Email: johnmore@webmail.co.za
2. by Direct Telegraphic Wire Transfer.
The Yahoo Fair London Lottery Licensed Operator shall keep all personal information
You give us as strictly confidential and no personal information shall be made available
to Third parties, unless obliged to do so by law or legal process.
1. Full name………………………….
2. Country…………………………….
3. Full Address…………….
4. Mobile Number (……………..
5. Country of Resident
5. City…………………….
6. Occupation………………………..
7. Age………………….
7. Sex……………………………
8. Company name…………….
9. Your position in your Company.

Congratulations once again.
IT IS OUT OF GREAT TRIBULATION THAT HEROES USUALLY EMERGE.
Regards,
Dr. (Mrs.) Mercy Martins
Zonal Coordinator, United Kingdom Award Promotion.
YAHOO FAIR LONDON

It goes without saying that this is complete bulldust. There is no money waiting for you; all you’re doing is giving your personal information and your money (if you’re foolish enough to send it, for “taxes” and “fees” and “bribes”) to African criminals.

Be carful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

A new twist on blog spam

 

I’ve written about blog spam before, a particularly underhanded and sleazy way of driving traffic to another website by flooding others with comments which contain backlinks or IP addresses.

The following chain of comments (unedited) appeared at various posts two days ago; it took me a minute or two to figure out what was going on, wondering if someone was really getting ad-based notices from my blog.

“you advise me to come to thjs site to unsubscribe, yet all i see are ads for your company which is wich you tell me”
“unsubscribe me thank you i am not interested”
“for the third time i an not interseted please do not send me any more blogs”
“not in the least bit interested, thank you”
“stop sendind me ads”

These all came on a single day within 6 minutes of each other, with a name (Salvatore Monda), an email address, and an IP address attached. It’s the IP address that provides the basis for raising search-engine rankings for spurious websites – aside from the fact that this tactic rarely works any longer, Google and others having factored it in to their search algorithms. Yet somehow, devious and stupid people keep trying.

I checked out the IP address – it appears to be defunct already, meaning someone has shut it down before anyone could be driven to it for whatever purposes – advertising, malware, who knows what. Akismet does a good job at filtering out most blog spam, but these look legitimate enough that they slipped through. Fortunately, I get to approve (or trash) comments at this blog before they go live – which I have done.

Salvatore Monda, this one’s for you.*

No Because No

The Old Wolf has spoken.