Avoid New Scam Techniques

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What Exactly Is Phishing & What Techniques Are Scammers Using?

I’ve never been a fan of fishing, myself. This is mostly because of an early expedition to a pond where my cousin managed to catch two fish with a bamboo pole, while the fancy fiberglass-reinforced rod I had caught me zip, zero, nada.

Similar to real-life fishing, phishing scams aren’t always best when they rely on advanced tactics, but there are many new techniques motivated by social networks. So what is phishing, and what should you be wary of?

The Basics of Phishing

According to Microsoft’s Safety & Security Center, phishing can be summed up as:

“A type of online identity theft. It uses email and fraudulent websites that are designed to steal your personal data or information such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information”.

In other words, phishers are the Loki of the Internet. They’re tricksters. Often, the techniques used by phishers have absolutely nothing to do with exploiting zero-day threats. Instead, they exploit human psychology.

There is one point on which I disagree with Microsoft, however, and that’s their description of phishing as “a type of online identity theft”. This isn’t always the case. As I’ll explain in some examples of recent scams, phishing tactics are often used to simply harvest data or to trick people into purchasing a product.

Traditional Phishing

In many cases, Microsoft is correct. Many phishing attacks are attempts to steal personal information. Often, they do so using link manipulation and website forgery. The traditional example is an email that seems to come from a legitimate source, like your bank. It claims that there’s been some problem, or perhaps offers you a lower interest rate on a credit card. All you need to do is log in via the link in the email, which appears legitimate.

But it’s not. The link has been manipulated to look correct, but it actually redirects you to a forged website. Once you enter your login information, the phisher has it, and can use it to log in and use your account. Sometimes, the attack will go further and request you to fill in personal information like your social security number, credit card number, address, and so on. Identity theft is just a hop, skip and a jump away from there.

Traditional phishing can be combated by refusing to follow links in such emails. If you receive something from your bank that claims you need to log into your account, simply go to your bank’s website by entering the URL manually and then log in. In fact, some banks and other organizations no longer even send links to users precisely because doing so makes phishing attacks more effective, as users become confused about what is and is not legitimate.

You can also combat phishing using an Internet Security suite with anti-phishing features. These monitor your browser and look for signs that a website is a forgery. Extensions like Web of Trust 7 Essential Security Downloads You MUST Have Installed Read More can also be effective.

Phone Phishing

Within the last few years, phone phishing has become a popular tactic. I myself received a phone call last month claiming to be from the Federal Credit Union Administration, which said my debit card had been locked due to potential identity theft. All I had to do to rectify the situation was give them my debit card information so my account could be verified. Of course, it’s a total scam, and one that’s been going on for years. If you enter your information, it can easily be used for fraudulent purchases.

There’s no software solution to this particular threat, so you simply have to be skeptical. If you receive a call from an organization that wants personal information, call them back at a publicly listed number, rather than the one provided for you in the voicemail. Phone phishing also tends to give itself away by being vague – usually, it won’t claim to actually be from your credit card company or bank specifically, but something more general, such as the “Federal Credit Union Administration” call I received.

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Social Network Phishing

The rise of social networks has given phishing new life. After all, social networks are all about sharing. It’s not at all unusual for a friend to post a link to a nifty article, so users are less likely to be skeptical, and more likely to click on a phishing link.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that phishing on social networks usually isn’t as severe. Usually, the deception will be something like the recent Steve Jobs’ death scams Steve Jobs Scams Spread Via Social Networking [News] Online mischief-makers focusing on social media love to take advantage of your emotions. They convince you that you can see your Facebook stalkers, disguise themselves as political activists, and even use mourning to generate clicks. Read More , which are simply looking to harvest email addresses or send people to affiliate links. You might be annoyed by additional spam, but that’s it.

Still, some of these attacks can be fairly harmful. Banks have Twitter feeds and Facebook pages too, and fake ones can be used to try and lure users to forged websites, just like a bogus email. These accounts can be hacked, too. The Bank of Melbourne experienced this , although as is often the case with phishers, the messages sent by the compromised account weren’t of high enough quality to fool many people.

Phishing on social networks can be combated the same way as phishing through email. Security software and extensions can help. You can also use a link preview extension to see if an abbreviated link is sending you where it claims.

Conclusion

Phishing will always exist, because there will always be ways to trick people. It’s easy to look down upon the victims as being stupid, but often the people who fall for the tricks simply lack proper education about computers, or are in a situation that compromises their judgment (don’t check your email while drunk, or excessively tired).

In this case, knowledge is power. With skepticism and a few security tools, you can avoid phishing threats and shut down one of the most common methods of identity theft. Have you been a victim of phishing?

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

How to Stop SMiShing Scams From Robbing You of Sensitive Information

Most people are familiar with standard phishing scams, where an unsolicited email asks you to provide sensitive information to identity thieves. But thieves continue to change their tactics, and you’re increasingly likely to get text messages in SMiShing scams.

What Is SMiShing?

SMiShing is a scam that involves an approach by text message. You’ll get a text message on your phone or another messaging system asking you to verify information, but the sender is not really who they say they are. Most thieves know better than to ask for your Social Security Number directly; instead, they’ll trick you into replying to an “important” issue with one of your accounts.

Messages might say you’ve signed up for a payment you don’t recognize and that your credit card or bank account will be charged unless you reply to the message. Alternatively, you might get a message saying somebody tried to charge your account, and the security department wants to verify the transaction with you before approving it. Of course, there are no pending charges, and thieves are hoping you’ll respond to clear up the error. As part of that process, they’ll get as much information as they can out of you by asking for:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your credit or debit card number
  • Your zip code, which helps them use your card number if they already have it
  • Your bank account number or routing information
  • The name of the bank or credit card you use, which they can use later in spear phishing attacks personalized to you

SMiShing scams might also be designed to infect your mobile device with malware or to encourage you to visit dangerous websites from a desktop computer.

Why SMiShing Works

Con artists use a variety of techniques to trick people into giving out information or clicking on links. SMiShing is not new, but some people are less cautious with text messages than they are with standard phishing scams.

Scamming people with email just isn’t as easy as it used to be. Email service providers are skilled at filtering spam and viruses, and users are accustomed to getting junk email. Plus, people tend to have their mobile devices everywhere they go, and it may be possible to catch them in a busy or distracted moment. Awareness of robocalls means fewer people answer calls. Texting, meanwhile, still has a semblance of intimacy and is a preferred method of legitimate communication by many financial institutions.

The Conundrum

Receiving a text message creates a dilemma for the recipient. On the one hand, it’s tempting to respond and solve any problems before they get out of hand. In a world where your account details and personal information have probably been stolen in a variety of breaches, it may pay to act fast. On the other hand, responding to requests for information can provide the one or two missing details an identity thief needs to start doing damage, making it best to ignore SMiShing messages.

These messages are a form of social engineering, where thieves take advantage of assumptions that victims make and the realities of increasingly busy and noisy lives.

How to Avoid Becoming the Victim of a SMiShing Scam

To protect yourself from SMiShing, use the same caution with text messages and instant messages that you already use with email:

Look at the Source

Check the number that’s sending you messages, but be aware it’s easy for thieves to spoof caller ID and make it look like the message is coming from a different number. For example, they might know what phone number your bank uses and copy that number so you’re less suspicious. If the number is completely unrecognizable, that’s a red flag.

Take Action Separately

If there’s a problem with your account, you have several options for fixing the problem—you don’t have to do it all by responding to that text message. Avoid clicking on links or answering questions if you’re not confident about a request. Instead, contact your bank or credit card company using a number you know is legitimate. For example, use the number on the back of your card or contact customer service while you’re logged in to your account.

Quiz the Sender of the Text

If friends or family ask for personal information, make sure you’re really talking to a loved one. For example, somebody might want your full date of birth or Social Security Number for an insurance application. Before responding, ask a question or use a joke that only the “real” person knows how to respond to. Instead of writing back, call and provide that information verbally so there’s no written record if one of you loses your phone.

Don’t Install Apps

Never install apps from a link in an unexpected text message. Although some apps and operating systems can help to protect you, you don’t want to give untrusted apps access to your device.​

Our Anti Scam policy

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, there are thousands of sincere honest singles out there who dream to love and be loved.

Do not spend your time, money and feelings on scammers!

fights against scams and do our best to protect you!

You can see our special SCAM Gallery of ladies new!

We demand from all our customers that they adhere to the AntiScam Rules:

  • No agency allowed to post profiles of their customers on and ask our customers to pay for correspondence
  • No commercial service allowed to promote their business
  • Only real profiles of real people, no fake photos
  • No singles allowed to post profiles with a purpose other than establishing a personal relationship.
  • We warn our clients against the sending of money to female members, and we ask clients to inform the agency about ANY money request initiated by a female member, for any purpose.

To report a scam

send us a letter, using “Contact Us” form with your name, current email address and your story, provide us with the information proving scam or scamming intention and we will immediately remove a scammer from our website.

You must be aware of the fact that there are some individuals online who may try to extract from you some amount in cash playing on your feelings. Be cautious and be ready! Let us help you to avoid a situation when you’ll lose your money and will be hurt and disappointed.

FOR ALL OUR CLIENTS – FIRST MEETING!

If you hold the first meeting in person OUT of our office we CANNOT assume any responsibility for your security, we cannot guarantee your safety as well the safety of your feelings or your money.

Financial Scam Technique

We want You to be able to protect yourself by learning how to spot the danger signs of scams. Common financial scam techniques are given below.

If a buyer promises a cashiers check/money order/Western Union that overpays you, and then requests that you wire the difference to them after keeping some for yourself, beware! Scamsters who adopt this method typically use forged or bogus checks, and it’s not difficult to realize who’s overpaying who.

If you receive an reply from someone in Africa/Nigeria/Abidjan who claims to have millions of dollars from a dead husband/father/brother and wants you to help get the money out of their country – it just sounds too good to be true! This is commonly known as the Nigerian 419 scam, and is named after the corresponding penal code of Nigeria.

If a seller offers his goods at an unbelievably low price, you should ascertain if he’s credible. Some scamsters take your money and run, leaving you with nothing but a lighter wallet. Pay by credit card where possible. In most cases, you can dispute credit card charges for non-delivery of goods. You can also use an intermediary service such as escrow. For a small fee, an escrow service holds the payment, forwarding it to the seller only when the buyer has received the goods in working order. An escrow service will also act as a mediator in times of dispute.

Female Personal Scam Patterns

All scam patterns have similarities that are very easy to spot if you know what to watch out for:

  • Usually the contact originates from a personals site where anyone can place his/her ad for free. Most often it was not you who initiated the acquaintance; you received a letter from a lovely Russian female who was interested in you. *Her* description of the partner is always very broad that will fit anybody – “kind intelligent man, age and race don’t matter”.
  • Sometimes *she* places a real nice discription and lovely, INNOCENT pictures, with honest eyes and kind smile. You will initiate the acquaintance.
  • It is always email correspondence; and letters are sent regularly, often every day; a new picture is sent with almost every letter.
  • *She* pretends she is not interested in your financial status, *she* does not use the word “financially secure” in her description of the desired partner.
  • Everything what *she* is looking for is a good personality.
  • Things move very fast, and *she* falls in love with you within 1-4 letters.
  • In her letters *she* talks a lot about trust, honesty and sincerity.
  • *She* does not answer your particular questions though she eagerly states she welcomes your curiosity.
  • Her financial situation is very bad – and she lets you know from the very beginning how little she earns, including the size of her salary even though you never asked about it.
  • In a few letters you will receive the information that *her* mom, dad, auntie or cat is sick, yes – cat! and she will be busy taking care of them. A smart one will not ask for money directly, but will put you in a situation that if you want to continue correspondence you have to support her.
  • If you really like the girl and tell her that you want to invite her to come visit you, next letter she will give you the information about visa, medical insurance, tickets. Prices will sound rather scary for you, like $300-500 for visa. a couple of thousand dollars for tickets, a few hundred dollars for insurance.
  • The majority of scam artists disappear after receiving money, some continue to be in touch, hoping to get more.

There are a lot of other “red” flags:

  • The most prominent is the fact that scammers don’t really read your letters. They are too busy corresponding with all potential victims. They don’t answer your questions. They don’t remember what you have written – actually, they don’t relate to the content of your letters at all. Those letters could be sent to anybody: “her” letters are pure monologue that becomes more and more obsessed with “her love” to you and her desire to be together with you despite of everything that separates you. There are usually sequences of letters, and they send the same messages to all their correspondents, one by one, making the only change – the man’s name (usually it appears only once, or does not appear at all – *she* uses “sweetheart”, “my love” etc instead). And of course sooner or later it will end in money request.
  • Dear Gentlemen: the above statements are not a rule, but patterns that we have experienced with online correspondence. We advise that you
    pay attention and be cautious!
  • You can also meet not only a scam master, but fun lovers. These ladies like to travel from one country to another, to spend three months with one guy then one month with another. All costs are paid, new country, new experience, lots of shopping – lots of fun! for her, but not for you if you truly look for long term relations. By the end of her trip, she will inform you that she is not ready to make a commitment and need some time to think it over or that she thinks that they do not compliment each other.
  • An average regular person can not easily leave the country for three months. If she is employed, it is almost impossible to get 3 months vacation there, even a student can not easily leave the university or college for this period.

Male Personal Scam Patterns

By now there is one pattern we are aware of – *he* places his profile on free dating sites and invites girls to come to his place and stay for a couple of months to see how it works. During this time period, his lady guest is doing her best to make him to like her – household, cooking, laundry, everything, sure free of charge and then – “good-bye” we are not good for each other. And then next “bride” and the following. This is probably the most difficult case to define if he is a “scammer” or not. But obviously the same pattern will work here – *he* will not be interested in a lady’s personality, he will not answer all questions and will avoid to share his life details. *He* will like a lady real fast and will invite her to come to his place without any delays. Dear Ladies, again everything that is said above is not a rule, but we advise you to pay attention and be cautious!

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, there are thousands of sincere honest people online who dream to love and be loved, who are truly looking for their soul mates and life partners.

Be causious, be smart, be lucky and you will find your dream date, best friend, passionate lover and caring loving life partner.

Example of abuse-letter what we received from our member

> To: abuse
> From: —we-remove-email–@hotmail.com
> Name: Felix J.

> Question: Dear sirs;
> I have been corresponding with one of your ladies
> ( Ilona Garnyavaya 474 ) and even if you say that your ladies are only in
> your web site I foun this particular lady posted in several dating sites in
> Kharkov and what striked me is that in each of those she apears with a diferent
> age and I started to do a little research and she even apears in a anti scam
> site and is in its black lists of course I `m terminating any correspondence
> with her on fear that she or even your agency is a scam.


i do understand your fears. i will however tell you that i know her. i was
just in the kharkov office. i returned on now 11. the posting on the site is
from nov 8. ilona said she had just returned from florida after a relationship
had failed, she was just not in “love” with him. i asked her what was the
problem, she said the man was to demanding. i did not ask futher questions.

i also had a chance to look around the site and saw another lady on our
site. she also had a bad relationship with a man.

so to tell you, i knoiw these 2 ladies. they are both very popular. i also
know the site you sent me to has no way for the lady to reply and it is one
sided. i have only had 2 complanits with ilona over the time she had a membership.
one from a man who could not understand why after sending endless flowers,
she was not “interested in him” the other time was for asking a man for private
english lessons. in both times we had a talk with her and explained the rules
again. we never had a complaint again.

> one of the sites I found her is www.allukrainebeauties.com profile 308
> where she is 25 yo

she has asked to be removed, she was not. our site is updated monthly. if a
lady wants off, we WILL take her off. other sites need the #’s of girls to make
money. we are an honest agency.

> and the antiscam site I found her is www.uaprofiler.com and you look into
> the letter G and you will find her.

> I also saw her profile on www.aukrainlady.com profile ai1614.
> where she is 26 yo .


cold not connect to this

> I also know the situation in ukraine and dont blame the girl that much
> since not many money or emotions where wasted but for you as an agency that
> prides in its reputation I belialibe this is very damaging as miself as a client
> will allways doubt wheter is the girl or the agency that is making the scam.

if you can base the reputation of our agency thru 2 ladys(one of my mention)
out of the 1200-1300 ladies we have , if we know a lady is a scam or we have
reports, we WILL remove her, thats a promise. please look around the anti
scams site, we are hardly EVER mentioned. we have over 50 employees and been in
buisness for over 4 years. so we are not a fly by night company or a scam
agency. we have live web cams, so you can see we are not just hiding behind the site
pages. if you do wish to cancel your membership, i will wish you the best of
luck in your search.

Eastern Standard Time or Visit our Support Center and write email. We will be happy to answer any questions.
United States
Tel: +1(855) 200 0910

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