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I spy with my beady eye ...

12 Nov 2009

419 phisher mash-up

Well here's a new take on an old scam - well possibly two old scams in one as it has elements of both 419 advance fee fraud and phishing about it (click on the email screenshot to see it in its full glory - I added the red highlighting).

I must say I have never before had scammers offering to send me my own "account online log in and password". What's the betting there is a small charge to release the information?

7 Nov 2009

Cheapskate copycat 419 scammers

The following extraordinary sentence launched yet another tedious social enginering 419 scam in my spam box:

"Take notice that based on the UNITED NATIONS government inauguration of this committee which extended to all countries which combined with the United Nation Anti-crime commission to alleviate and redeem the image and past wounds of our dear citizens and foreign firms who were duped, defrauded, scammed and abandoned by some impostors who indiscriminately use the name of God, Office of governors, Presidency, Banks etc to slight down our dignities to international communities."

Most 419ers are clearly one sandwich short of a picnic as all they seem to do is replay the same old scams over and over. The 'clever' ones add daft little elaborations and the rest duly plagiarise them without actually understanding how dumb they end up sounding.

This cretin continued: "Many banks have been in bankruptcy today, Universal firms, Companies due to the activity of these hoodlums. However, investigation have shown that these people have dropped over 500,000 clients after collecting their money, many committed suicide and others living by the grace of God," [that comma ended the paragraph].

By the third paragraph, the bizarre language had actually become quite entertaining: "Meanwhile, we have a committee whose duties are to re-commend [sic] genuine contractors, loan bidders, next of kin (inheritance payment), foreign firms who have completed all the U.S government normal payment requirements but abandoned due to take over of some sacked officials who take Government papers to collect money and leave the beneficiary half way." He's obviously read far too many emails by his friends in the back-street Internet cafe, and mashed them all together in his tiny pin-head, as if that somehow enhances the magic.

After a boring fourth paragraph, we discover that his CAPS-LOCK key is evidently sticking: "We also have endorsed your payment to FALCON BANK TO PAY YOU THROUGH A DIPLOMATIC COURIER SERVICE without prejudice and will need a confirmation of all your communication until you finally receive your money so as to investigate more so to find out more facts on this issues, it will be well appreciated if you can provide us some vital information on how you have been scammed. The U.N government is using this opportunity to compensate the entire victim who some have duped."

The 'U.N Government'?! Gosh, I must have missed that election. Silly me.

"So you are advice to contact Mr. Felix De Lapaz to mail to you a certified check which can be cashed anywhere in the world and the amount is $250,000.00 U.S.D(TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS)." Now, just in case the rest of this tripe somehow escaped my beady and rather jaundiced eye, I clearly smell a very large malodorous rat as most of this cheapskate scammer's peers are offering me many MILLIONS (all in CAPS of course, spelt out for me word-by-word as if this somehow adds credibility to those crazy digits).

After asking me to cough up a little personal information ("Please fill the following form for documentations:"), the numbskull ends with this: "As soon as you give him the following he will mail your compensation cheque to you. THIS IS PROUDLY SPONSORED BY "THE U.N CAMPAIGN TEAM AGAINST ONLINE SCAMS"." So, this is a sponsored scam, eh? I'm sorely tempted to write back to see if I can discover how he managed to secure such high-powered sponsorship ... but then I come to my senses and realise that bozos like this are simply not worth the electrons.

Still, at least I got yet another entertaining case study out of it. And a wry smile.

4 Nov 2009

Word-based email blacklisting

Using banned-word lists to block spam may be a simple and hence cheap control but it may be too crude or simplistic to work properly. Blocking emails with "teen" in them, for example, is perhaps not the smartest move made by New Zealand's Social Development Ministry.

2 Nov 2009

Blogging policies

A set of policies, presented as checklists or guidelines for employees, explains typical rules for employees who use blogs or other social media:
"The Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit is a draft series of checklists to help companies, their employees, and their agencies learn the appropriate and transparent ways to interact with blogs, bloggers, and the people who interact with them.

We believe in the principles of transparency and openness, and this document is a way of making this real on the inside. Our goal is not to create or propose new industry standards or rules. These checklists are open source training tools designed to help educate the hundreds or thousands of employees in any large corporation the appropriate ways to interact with the social media community."

The authors evidently have a bee in their bonnet about people disclosing any pecuniary interest in the matters on which they are writing. If adapted to become corporate policies, management may wish to be crystal clear about the limits on employees discussing the organization, its products, customers or related matters in any public forum (including all social media), particularly if all such pronouncements should normally be explicitly sanctioned by Public Relations, Law, Marketing or other interested parties.

Note: this may be just as much an issue for employees (or indeed contractors, consultants and others) blogging 'in their own time' as for those blogging at work.