Over the last five years or so, there have been huge numbers of email spam messages about woodworking – everything from how to make millions from wood, to make your own workshop, to offers of 10,000 woodwork plans, to get rid of your furniture and make your own better quality stuff etc.
Clearly, in society there is a demand for professional carpenters and it probably pays well for those who are very skilled at the work.
There is also room for many people to DIY and gain the pleasure of achieving something with wood.
But it is a craft and idiots cannot expect to become top carpenters overnight, whatever the scams emails claim.
A latest set of emails about woodworking claim ‘Setup a shop even if you’ve no money, no space and no tools’.
It shows a video clip you are supposed to watch that contains the answers, but the cover picture on the video shows a large well equipped workshop.
Doesn’t really match the title claim of no space, no money and no tools needed.
Similar emails claim the woodwork plans mean you can become an expert without any training – just follow the instructions.
That is obviously a recipe for disaster.
Does the scammer care about setting up people to fail?
No, of course not. He just wants his money.
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An email from Allen Yan arrives from a Korean email address but he claims to be working in a Chinese company in Fuijan, China. So, he must be a very confused person i.e. a scammer at a Chinese company would never use a Korean email address. The message asks us to quote best prices for his order and I should open the attached invoice to see the items. This scammer seems as dumb as dog muck as wants a quote against an order but the attachment is labelled as an invoice. However, the attached file is actually a web page (invoice.html) so no-one with any sense would open it.
The EU Business Register scam is back in abundance as large numbers of these scam messages are sent out. It’s a simple scam – offering you the chance to update your business entry in the EU business register free of charge. But, the scam is in the small print which says that by returning the form with your details you are agreeing to a 3 year contract at 995 Euros per year and thereafter to automatic renewals of the contract at the same price. It is quite evil and will not stand up in court, but they threaten people who don’t pay and presumably some give in.
Another email message about an email account that was made up by scammers. They send these stupid messages claiming the mailbox is full and we are supposed to click to update the account. But the email address they are sending to is fake so it’s not a real problem. Simply yet more phishing emails.
At the radio station, we get a lot of the fake invoice scam emails. Typically these claim we owe some hundreds of dollars and need to open the attachment for details or to click the link to see the invoice. This latest one from ‘Tabitha’ claims we owe $69,760 – certainly the highest amount claimed by a scammer this year. Perhaps she is greedy or stupid or believes that higher amounts are more likely to be paid. Whatever her reason she wont get anything from us.
Louise Stewart keeps emailing to say we owe various amounts – usually about $200 even though her business address on the email is in Sussex. She wants us to open the attached ‘invoice’ which no doubt is loaded with malware. Pathetic scammer.
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A survey by Mumsnet showed that nearly half of answering the surveyed are worried about becoming a victim of fraud and ninety percent are not confident they can identify criminal tactics like vishing (making phone calls claiming to be from a reputable company but really seeking confidential information) and smishing (same as vishing but by text message).
More than a third of mums say they are approached up to SIX TIMES PER WEEK by individuals trying to get personal information from them. These approaches are by telephone, email and text messages.
To help tackle the problem, Mumsnet and the “Take Five to Stop Fraud” campaign – a national campaign that offers advice to help consumers prevent financial fraud – have teamed up to help parents confidently challenge criminals out to obtain personal information.
Well Known Scams
Here are some examples of well-known scams you should be aware of (according to Mumsnet):-
An email from HMRC offering a refund
A call from your bank about fraud asking you to move your money to a safe account
An email from a foreign prince offering untold riches if money is transferred to them now
A message from WhatsApp asking you to input financial information in order to continue to use the service
A call from a broadband provider to say the internet connection is running slow and their engineer can ‘fix’ the problem by taking control of your computer
An email from Amazon asking you to disclose personal information to reactivate your account
A text message offering money off at a supermarket if a link in the message is clicked on
A call from a builder or contractor asking for money to be paid directly to a new bank account
An email from your utility provider offering a refund
A student loans company email stating loans have been suspended due to incomplete student information
Take the time to stop and think before handing over personal information and certainly before paying online for anything.
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Prior to BREXIT, scammers were trying to scam people worried about what would happen, by offering fake government advice, fake government services to help businesses to transition to the new rules etc.
Then they switched to more threatening forms of scam e.g. you are not obeying the rules and must fill in some fake government form or be prosecuted or simply threats about paying fines or else face imprisonment.
Since BREXIT happened most of these scams disappeared but not all of them.
Scammers are sending out text messages and emails telling people they have to confirm their identity i.e. provide personal information / bank details to ‘keep up with EU standards’.
These messages are fake.
The messages contain a link to a website designed to look official and to get that information from you to pass to the scammer.
Some Common Scams
Many business scams start with the scammer pretending to be from HMRC.
They may warn of non-compliance with the rules and need you details to confirm or may want you to sign up to some new guidance or want you to register your details with them.
HMRC do contact businesses of course but they never ask for confidential information by email or text message. If in doubt as to whether any messages are real – contact HMRC directly.
Bogus Brexit Investment Schemes
Scammers cold call businesses offering fantastic new schemes for making lots of money from opportunities through Brexit changes.
Cold calls offering investments are always fake.
Phishing / Vishing / Smishing
Phishing, vishing and smishing mean respectively, email fraud, telephone fraud and text message fraud.
Scammers use all three methods to try to get confidential information from you which can then be used by other scammers and in identity theft.
Typically, the scammers pose as government officials, new customers, suppliers, the Police, your bank or any regulatory body etc.
Never give out sensitive information without verifying the caller or texter or email sender and never click on links in unsolicited messages of any kind.
The pandemic has caused chaos in worldwide transport of goods, shortage of shipping containers, shortage of drivers etc. and some scammers are offering special deals to alleviate these problems. The scammers have no real solutions of course – just lies to make money for themselves and leave people in a much worse situation.
Do not enter into commercial arrangements with anyone without having verified that they are a real business and they have a sound track record or you are likely to regret it.
Remember – if a deal looks too good to be true, the chances are that it is.