Scams have been around for years. However, since the technology revolution, the options and methods have become more creative, more widespread and more lucrative for those engaging in such criminal activity.
Before the age of the internet, the well-publicised Nigerian 419 scams were initiated via fax.
The internet is now flooded with scams, and email scams vary from a long lost relative who has left you a large sum of money to any number of ‘get rich’ quick scams.
Nowadays scammers have infiltrated sites that we trust. Only as recently as January 2013 did we see yet another report about TradeMe scams. The nature of these vary. Some may appear to come from TradeMe asking you to enter details into a web form or on a particular website that may look like TradeMe. Hover over the website link and you will see the true site name appear for about 10 seconds.
TradeMe scams include rental accommodation. So-called landlords may ask for a ‘holding deposit’ to be sent via Western Union. You should never send money via Western Union, nor deposit money into a bank account you are not familiar with.
Scammers love Western Union, as they often cannot be traced.
Dating scams are common in New Zealand, and we are still seen as a soft target by international scammers. Such scams target lonely hearts who are looking for love.
Kiwis have lost over 2.2million dollars in dating scams. There is always a similar pattern. The scammer has taken an overseas trip and has been robbed. They then ask the victim for a cash loan to be wired.
Female scammers ask male victims for money to help pay medical expenses of a sick family member, or to help with a flight ticket.
Often residing in another country, these criminals will send attractive photos of themselves (who may or may not be the actual person) and build up a rapport and trust over a period of months.
Email boxes have been flooded with phishing scams for the past few years. These appear to be from a legitimate business we deal with, as the logos and fonts look identical. The purpose is to gain access to our personal information, including bank accounts, for financial gain.
The biggest give-away sign of a phishing attempt is that by hovering over the link address, the true site will display for about 10 seconds.
It is up to each one of us to know when we are being presented with a scam. The old saying still applies: if it looks too good to be true, it’s obviously a scam.
The New Zealand Consumer Affairs site runs a scam watch with all the latest scams. You will find it at http://www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/scams .
Posted by Mike Archer. Posted In : scams