Scam is prevalent in our society, scam-artist exist virtually everywhere in the world and they can hit any target. For clarification purposes, I will define a scam-artist, a spammer and a hacker. I will also explain the relationship between these set of con-artists.
WHO IS A SCAM ARTIST?
A scammer or a person who attempts to defraud others by presenting a fraudulent offer and pretending that it is legitimate; a con artist. Since con artists look for ways to manipulate strengths and weaknesses. They will either paint a picture of wealth and ease, or increase your darkest fears, or a combination of both. A scammer will do the followings to their target/client:
play on your sympathies,
instil in you a sense of security in dealing with him or her,
separate you from your friends and family by placing extreme secrecy on all facets of the deal,
convince you to depend only on the scammer and to believe only in the scammer; convince you that your friends and family, banks and law enforcement, are all lying and that only the scammer is telling the truth.
and distract you from what is really going on using lies laced with enough truth to make the pattern believable. What we call “sleight of mind.”
WHO IS A SPAMMER
A spammer is considered a person or organization that sends irrelevant or unsolicited messages over the Internet, typically to large numbers of users, for the purposes of advertising, phishing, spreading malware. Electronic spamming is the use of electronic messaging systems to send an unsolicited message (spam), especially advertising, as well as sending messages repeatedly on the same site. While the most widely recognized form of spam is email spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media: instant messaging spam, Web search engine spam, spam in blogs, wiki spam, online classified ads spam, mobile phone messaging spam, Internet forum spam, social media spam, spam mobile apps, and file sharing spam.
WHO ARE HACKERS & TYPES
Hacking or hackers are sub-divided into other groups such as white-hat, grey-hat black-hat hackers and so on. However, we are used to only two types of hackers which are the “black-hat and white=hat” hackers. One represents a kind of “protagonist” in a movie while the other is the “Antagonist”
A security hacker is someone who seeks to breach defences and exploit weaknesses in a computer system or network. Hackers may be motivated by a multitude of reasons, such as profit, protest, challenge, recreation, or to evaluate system weaknesses to assist in formulating defences against potential hackers. The subculture that has evolved around hackers is often referred to as the computer underground.
There is a longstanding controversy about the term’s true meaning. In this controversy, the term hacker is reclaimed by computer programmers who argue that it refers simply to someone with an advanced understanding of computers and computer networks, and that cracker is the more appropriate term for those who break into computers, whether computer criminal (black hats) or computer security expert (white hats)
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HACKERS, SPAMMERS, AND A SCAMMER
While a scam-artist can employ spamming and hacking to achieve his aims and objectives, a white hat hacker if the one who solves the problems created by black-hat hackers. A scammer, can employ the services of a hacker to break into someone else’s computer or account while at the same time spamming his prospective clients persistently. In a nutshell, a scammer is different from the other two, however, a scammer can harmonise the other two.
WHY DO PEOPLE GET SCAMMED EASILY
Before you get scammed, you will belong to either of the following groups. 1. Unsuspecting, selfishness, pride and arrogance, loquacity nonchalant, carelessness, trust and ignorant or 2. Greed and over-zealousness Remember, no matter how smart you are, if you will get scammed, you will be scammed especially by a loved one. This brings us to how you can be in a position of being scammed:
- Greed: This is the most important factor for being a scam candidate. please be realistic, set realistic goals, embrace only offers that applies to common sense. An unknown person offers to sell a brand new iPhone 7 to you at the rate of $250, don’t you know something is wrong? If anything is too good to be true, then is probably is.
- Stinginess, selfishness / Miser: If you do not help people around you but you only use them, you will eventually get scammed especially by people very close to ou.
- Unsuspecting, Ignorance and trust: This is the only unavoidable means of getting scammed. But under normal circumstances, the saying “Once bitten, twice shy should apply”. Besides, this article will go a long way in putting you in a better position
- Loquacity, nonchalance and carelessness: Please and please know where and who you tell things relating to your financial or business status. Nowadays, a scammer is scamming a scammer. Do not overlook anything that is unsolicited. Do your research before acting
HOW DO SCAMMERS OPERATE-NIGERIA FOCUS
I have been scammed due to trust(this is the most difficult scamming to avoid especially from a loved one) But I have never been scammed due to greed or selfishness or carelesness. I was once scammed due to trust and I learnt my lessons eversince. I always coutered their moves due to research. The major solution is “research”
TACTICS USED BY SCAMMERS IN TARGETING AFRICAN / NIGERIANS CLIENTS
- Email spam: I mean you receive an unsolicited email that sends panic into you or offer you something ridiculously good.
- Social media: Facebook and other media
- Dating sites
- Text messages: the trend now is for you to receive a message telling you have won a prize from a contest you did not participate in, that your bank has suspended your account and you need to call a specified number in order the re-activate it. BVN is being used in Nigeria now.
- By downloading a deceptive app to your phone.
- Phishing: the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. So do not click on any link or download just anything from untrusted mailers.
- Any ID provided by the Scammer will always be faked or stolen. Scammers on dating sites will use pics lifted from the internet. www.tineye.com is a good resource to check suspect pics
- A typical con-artist will pose as professionals, ie, Barristers, Government Officials, Company Directors, etc, but their major weakness is that they use free e.mail addresses, eg, gmail, Windows Live Mail, Yahoo, etc(check my pic above. Some Scammers are crafty and use mock corporate mail extensions, which are available via some free e.mail providers.
- They work in cliques or groups. Early on in the Scam, the Victim will be given the e.mail address of a third party, often a lawyer or clergyman and asked to contact them. Usually, it is the same Scammer using a different e.mail address. The purpose of this is to draw the Victim deeper into the plot and darken reality.
- For you to fall more easily, most scammers pretend to be based in Europe. some Scammers pretend to be UK-based and use what look like UK telephone numbers but are actually virtual numbers, which may redirect to anywhere in the world (UK – Nigeria, for eg). These are the digits to look out for at the start of a virtual phone number.
Dialling from outside UK
+44 70** *** ***
+44 3** *** ***
+44 84* *** ***
+44 87* *** ***
+44 9** *** ***
- Often, the Scam e.mail will be typed in UPPER CASE CAPITAL LETTERS. It is believed that the main reason Scammers do this is that the keyboards that they use in African Cyber Cafes are dual language and English may only be accessed through UPPER CASE. But today, msot scammers are very smart.
- The Victim will be asked to provide a scan of their photo ID, ie, passport or driving licence. This serves 2 purposes; to ensure that the Victim is who they say they are, and to provide the Scammer with a scan of a genuine ID which may be reused to scam others.
- The Scammer will soon ask for the Victim’s phone number. This is to ensure direct and immediate access to the Victim whenever the Scammer chooses to call and pressure the Victim to pay up.
- Scammers will reuse scripted e.mails. Copy 2-3 line extracts from suspicious e.mails and search for these on the internet. There is always a chance that identical e.mails have been posted on forums to warn others.
losely observing the image below, we can see that right off the bat, we see so many red flags:
Typically, 419 email scams show perceivable signs of deceit. Here’s a sample email message from “Sandra,” a scammer who targeted a scambaiter called “Justin Credible”:
When Justin responded with a fake address, Sandra sent this:
1. The grammar. It’s atrocious. It’s worse than that birthday card you wrote to your mummy in nursery school.
2. The writing. So many run-on sentences. So much word muddling. If an unsolicited email reads like a drunk text, it’s probably a hoax.
3. The spelling. “Be delieve trough (US MAIL)” — That’s not an autocorrect failure. That’s a clear sign that Sandra doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about the so-called Sandra lacks proper education.
4. The desperation. Sandra really wants Justin to check his mailbox. Her frantic pleas are deliberate. Sandra wants Justin to act fast so that he’ll transfer the money before he realizes exactly how sketchy this whole situation is. Yes, a scammer will not give you breathing space.
5. The emotional plea. “Love,” “thanks,” “god bless” — who could reject a request from such a polite stranger? Sandra wants to tug at Justin’s heartstrings so that he feels obligated to help her.
6. The email address. firstname.lastname@example.org? Like I said above, they use cheap personal emails to pass across a business / corporate message.
HOW TO STOP A SCAMMER
Like now, let us assume a scammer has already targeted you, you can steal prevent further damage or prevent any damage that may be targeted at you.
Modern-day 419 scammers typically work in groups. Because they have so many people on their payroll — about 40 percent of scammers’ earnings go to paying bribes — it’s difficult for example for Nigerian and international policing agencies to track down specific individuals.
Attack is the best form of defence Spare yourself the trauma of a potentially inconclusive criminal investigation. Your best defence against a scam is not to fall for it in the first place. Here are some tips:
- Pray that you should not fall victime. Prayers is very important. pray to your God not to let you fall into the hands of these people. It can be a very painful expereince to be a victim
- Don’t believe ANYTHING they say: Sometimes, multiple scammers will pose as one person; Everything the scammer tells you — their name, address, occupation, and sob story — is a complete lie. I gave you an URL where you can look up suspected pictures, now here is a link where you can lookup Look up the names or number online giving to you by a scammer
- Don’t send them your hard earned money: Scammers will ask you to wire money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram. They might also use your money to buy prepaid credit cards, set up new accounts, or buy expensive goods to ship abroad.
Don’t give them your financial information
No stranger has a right to access your bank account number, credit or debit card number, debit card PIN, BVN. Please do not give any stranger or anyone you do not really trust your sensitive financial information
- I repeat, search the image they provide you with. It is definitely not theirs
- Do not call the numbers they ask you to call
- Do not click or download from within any unsolicited emails
- Do not buy anything that is ridiculously cheap online or offline from strange people or organization
Don’t meet up with them: Your life is important to you, do not meet up with strangers face-to-face alone.
- Always tell people around you about what is going on. Do not be cajoled by them. Why most people get scammed easily is that the scammers have blackmailed them into not involving a third party. I belive the first thing you ought to do when you are receive unsolicited offers is to invole a third party.
Stop all communication: Don’t reply to their messages. Block them from social media. Flag their email address as spam. Do whatever it takes to kick them out of your life. Also use your call blocking apps to block their numbers
If your own case is that of dating scam, I have some good articles here for you. Read this and this. Always remember it is bad to reap where you did not sow. Therefor, beware. Share this with as many people as possible.