Category: Uncategorized

Stupidest Spam of the Week Colonel Gaddafi

Years ago there was a spate of advance fee scams using the name of Colonel Gaddafi’s widow.  These were typical scams in telling a ridiculous story and claiming there is a huge fortune waiting to be collected and you can share in it if you offer just a tiny bit of help collecting those riches.

Some moron is now repeating these old messages.

e.g “Greetings from Libya,  I am the wife of the ex-Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qadhafi, the former and late leader of Libya Colonel Muammar Qadhafi who was betrayed and embattled by Libyan

and murdered by the Libyan rebels which led to his untimely death.

Since then, me and my children has been on travel ban, no access to bank accounts  and we have been rendered homeless and at the same time we are under threat and we are not allowed to

invest or operate bank account. I wrote this letter because I need you to help me to secure some of my family funds that is deposited by my late husband in different security companies abroad which is no longer safe under the name of my late husband therefore I urgently need your help to transfer the amount to your bank account”.

She offers you 30% of the total funds and just wants to know some details from you to start the process of recovering the money.

She wants your name, address, phone numbers, gender, age, occupation and a copy of your identification.

All good information to sell to identity thieves.

She wants to benefit from two scams at once – the Advance Fee Scam and Identity Theft.

Any riches that Gaddafi had are long since gone.

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Time-Wasters Update

WHOIS final warning for email account shutdown” is yet another phishing email trying to get our login and password details. Never click on links in such emails – check with your email provider if you’re not sure whether it’s a scam or not.

Georgia Quinn emails to tell me that my gift is waiting for me. I simply need to confirm my name and address. The gift is apparently free cakes. The email sender appears to work for a company called Lead Forensics. That is a real company and is nothing to do with crime investigation. Their tagline is “Lead Forensics is the software that reveals the identity of your anonymous website visitors”.  On the Internet, many people choose to be anonymous (i.e. not login or register on websites) so they don’t get pestered by spammers and scammers, but Lead Forensics see their mission as being to remove that anonymity and make sure those people are pestered by unwanted emails and calls. We don’t know if the cakes are real or just a lie to get people to send in their details.  Don’t reply.

Reverse Alzheimer’s in 3 minutes a day”. It’s sad that scammers go after people suffering from Alzheimer’s but there are many scams targeting them. This one claims that scientists have found the secret of how memories are stored and how to restore them. If there was any such breakthrough we would all know about it and not need scammers to inform people. The email even includes pictures supposed to prove the cure but of course they don’t prove anything except that the scammer can copy and paste pictures.

Another scam message and this claims that you follow an at home trick before bed and you are guaranteed to wake up with insane energy. Scammers always promise far too much to be anything but fake. Pathetic.

Scientists from Harvard and Johns Hopkins have revealed there’s a nasty mistake most diabetics are making every single night”. Lots of scammers target diabetics as it’s very common problem and the only real answers involve weight loss and exercise. There are no magic pills to take diabetes away, so scammers invent magic potions, exercises and ‘weird’ rituals to entice people. This scammer keeps the supposed answer secret and instead lists lots of things that are proven not to work and claims his secret is different to them all. There are scientists at Harvard working on research on diabetes but their results are published for anyone to read and they do not have any magic answers as yet – or the entire world would know about it.

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LinkedIn Fake Messages

The LinkedIn social media service for business people is very popular and can be very useful.

It is largely free of the scams and spam messages that fill Facebook, Twitter and many others, but scammers are increasingly targeting its users as they tend to trust messages more than for example  Facebook users.

A new set of phishing scam messages is appearing where the scammer has gone to the trouble of making the messages a copy of genuine LinkedIn messages. The title is something like “New Business Invitation Inquiry”  and the message reads like a normal LinkedIn contact message.

Mountai Hui Yan Group Ltd.

Yan Hing (project manager).

Please send me a quotation.”
Then two buttons. One for Accept and one for Review Message.

Whichever you press leads to a fake login screen.

The scammers intention is to get your login details either to sell to other scammers or to take control of your account and use it for scamming more people. 

Take care with LinkedIn as there are more scammers than ever trying to take advantage of the platform.

If you have any experiences with phishing scams do let me know, by email.

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Stupidest Spam of the Week The CIA

There are some scam messages that involve the CIA but they are rare so this new one is an oddity.

Waylon Miethkle tells me he has been instructed to contact me (doesn’t know my name though) as the CIA have been carrying out research into life for the last 50 years. He wants me to have the results of that research.

Sounds remarkably boring.

The tag to try to get me interested in clicking the link is

Now governments and others have developed technology around these concepts for their own deceptive use. You will be contacted by other methods about counter measures and the part you play in this”.

I think this scammer has been watching old Cold war movies and thinks she’s a part of the spy game.

“By other methods” – maybe I should keep a watch out for carrier pigeons carrying secret messages or a microfilm turning up in my breakfast cereal or clandestine phone calls with strange pass phrases e.g. “The weather is Siberia is colder than a London Tuesday in the summer”.

Ludicrous.

The link to be clicked is to a shortened URL so there’s no way to know which website it goes to unless I click on it which I will not be doing.

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Spreadsheet Macros

Scammers send out huge volumes of emails containing malware attachments and they try to get the recipients to open those attachments. Some of these contain programming code which activates as the file is opened, so this can be dangerous

You can avoid attachments that are actually programmes, but spreadsheets are very useful for financial documents e.g. invoices and statements.

Microsoft Excel spreadsheets usually have the file extension .xls but ones that contain macros are usually .xlsm

Macros are Excel programming code and can contain malware so you need to be beware of these.

e.g. an email claiming to be from Bank of America with a confirmation notice in the format of a spreadsheet with macros i.e. .xlsm format.

Some email systems will automatically turn off automatic macro activation and some anti malware services will do this, but best to be sure by not opening the attached file, however much you may want to know what’s in it.

One particularly nasty phishing campaign used spreadsheets with macros to install a remote access trojan  on the computer’s system. This trojan is known as Grace Wire or Flawed Grace.

That software then steals information from the system and sends it back to the scammer. The attachment also contained malware downloaders that install Dridex and Trick banking trojans.

Do not open attached files unless you are certain they are safe.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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National Crime Agency and Covid

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has launched a new initiative, bringing law enforcement and government together with the private sector to tackle criminals seeking to exploit the COVID-19 crisis for financial gain.

The new ‘OTELLO COVID-19 Fusion Cell’, led by the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) and co-sponsored by the private sector, brings together experts from across sectors – including the financial sector, insurance companies, trade bodies, law enforcement and the wider public sector.

The Cell aims to rapidly share information on changes to the economic crime threat related to COVID-19 and to proactively target, prevent and disrupt criminal activity, protecting businesses and the public.

There is concern that criminals are using the pandemic as a hook to harm vulnerable people for financial gain or to continue illicit activity. Whilst the overall level of fraud being reported has not significantly increased, there has been a noticeable shift towards scams directly linking to Coronavirus.

More people working from home and an increase in online activity has left both businesses and people vulnerable to scams. Lockdown has also changed the way people conduct their lives and business, with an increase in mobile banking, e-payments and cash stockpiling.

The Fusion Cell will work in partnership with industry to identify new trends and threats and decide on the most appropriate way to tackle it, building on the expertise of both the public and private sectors.

The Cell produces a weekly public/private threat dashboard, to inform areas for proactive tactical development and disruptive action.

Insight from developing the Fusion Cell has the potential to inform a longer term ambition to develop the capability to spot and stop economic crime before it happens, with real-time insight and disruptive activity through public-private data sharing

If you have any experiences with phishing scams do let me know, by email.

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