Secure IT Foundation

Is it a scam? If you have to ask, the answer is yes!

Posted on: September 18, 2009

The world is full of bad guys trying to take your money. They come after you using the Internet, with luring adverts for big pay out lotteries with odds too good to be true. They may send you an email offering you a share in stolen bounty from a civil war if you act as their banker. It may be a person calling you on the phone telling you that you have a won a prize or holiday. It doesn’t matter how they try and get to you, it is all a SCAM.

In the real world, when did you last get given money out of the blue by a total stranger with no strings attached? NEVER unless you are a beggar!

Technology just makes it easy for people you cannot see face to face, to con you from your money. The security ostrich is bad with security due to ignorance, but if you get taken in by your greed on the Internet / email / phone then you need professional help… not for your computer security, but you – for your addictive personality for gambling.

How to spot a fraud or scam:

  • Someone tells you that you have won a contest / lottery / holiday that you did not enter
  • Someone offers you a chance to claim a prize / opportunity to take part in new scheme / free holiday / free widget
  • Someone asks you for your bank details or credit card number while doing the above
  • Someone says there is a time limit or other factor making you need to take urgent action while doing the above
  • It sounds too good to be true

Simple rule is, if you wanted a service then you will get it yourself. Just say NO to strangers selling / giving  / offering you items on the phone, at your front door, via adverts on the Internet, or by email. Just hang up, delete the email or use ad blocking software. If it involves your money then the default response should be NO. The more money bad guys make from scams, the longer that it will continue. You just keep it going for longer, so stop it.

But XYZ Lotto is real, it is not a scam, it says so on their glossy website?

Some scams are clever. They give the appearance of legitimacy that on first glance makes them look kosher. The underlying lotto may even be real and genuine but used as a cover by the bad guys. Glossy websites, lots of famous sounding companies involved, government approved etc. The classic example is a well advertised lotto based in Lichtenstein. You may receive a call saying you can win or have won money in this lotto. You check the website, google for them and find the first few entries say it is not a scam, see it is government approved. All sounds too good to be true. The catch is in the small print or the way you are contacted.

  • Is it the genuine lotto that called you, do you really know?
  • Is there a man in the middle using your credit card details and playing for you?
  • Does the small print  / rules allow you to legally take part in the lotto?
  • Is it legal to enter a foreign lotto from your country?
  • Who decides if you are eligible or not if you were to win a large amount?
  • What fees would be taken if you were to win /will the fees exceed the winnings!
  • Can you appeal in the courts in the country if it all went terribly wrong?

Next time you you are presented a fantastic opportunity on the phone, by email, by social networking, by ads on the Internet or by people you know who have already been conned, think about it. If you were approached in the street by a hoody in a shell suit would you give them your bank or credit card details? So why do it when technology is involved!

SB

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