Saturday, March 28, 2015

"Con-Art in Internet"

“Selling eternal life is an unbeatable business, with no customers ever asking for their money back after the goods are not delivered.” Victor J. Stenger.

Few days ago, I received an email from Yahoo Internet Lottery informing me I have won £ 1,000,000 lottery, an amount I have never ever dreamt of. I stared at the email hilariously because they wrote “One million United States Dollars” in words whereas the sign of dollar is showing as À£. And how comes I have just won a lottery when I have never ever purchase a lottery ticket in London or use any website by the name of Yahoo Internet Lottery? I knew about the present days email scams in order to extort money from unsuspecting internet user. Anyway, I took a screenshot of the email and save as wallpaper for my amusement. See the image below:

I’m sure any rational person will not reply to this kind of emails or follow up but many times I have come across in some news report when victims, especially old ones who have retired from work, are extorted from all their life time savings in return for the fake winning lottery amount. I can feel for the victims and it is not entirely their faults because they just got swayed away by the words “Lucky Winners” and also the jackpot amount. But yes! One has to rational and logic on this kind of email. First point, how can you possibly win a lottery when you have never purchase a ticket? No one has ever won a jackpot lottery without a ticket.

Second point, when a person wins a jackpot lottery in term of millions, it is big news but the scammer choose to communicate with you via your personal email address although you haven't provided your email address to anyone else except your friends, family and work related. Just think for a while before pumping our arms in happiness, why is the jackpot lottery I've won was not announce in any of the major news channels? Think about it and I'm sure most of us will conclude with the following phrase, "To hell with the email, and every day is not April fool’s day."

Third point, in order to convince the victims to the core and extort the amount by any means, the scammer framed the email in such a way it is believable as soon as we start reading. For instance, “You were randomly selected from World Wide Web site through computer draw system and extracted from over thousands of companies”. However, before reading all the content of the email, it is extremely advisable to visit: and search for World Wide Web lottery or whatever the lottery name is. The Google search results will be show the words “scam or lottery scam” in abundant on the 1st page. There and then, don't even bother to read the email completely, just delete it permanently. In fact, there is no organizer by the name of “World Wide Web lottery” or any kind of lottery committee communicating with you via email to claim your winning prize.

Fourth point, the scammer also tries to blackmail potential victims emotionally. In this kind of case, the email is different from the lottery email scam. The scammer framed an email with short unreal story about family inheritance and assets however the story can easily sway anyone with the tone used in it. And if the potential victim is sentimental, it just makes it easier for scammer. They will request a monetary loan from the victim with a promise to repay back with mouthwatering commission on the inheritance and assets. Honestly, who does a thing like this? It is really kind of funny to send random emails to stranger for the first time just to borrow money and to repay later on.

The points I have mentioned in this blog are few of the circumstances most of us came across while checking our email inboxes. Anyway, criminals are criminals; they are very confidence artist and ruthless with their execution of plan. Frank Abagnale said, “Technology breeds crime and we are constantly trying to develop new technology to stay one step ahead of the person trying to use it negatively.” Frank used to be con-artist but now he is FBI security consultant and entrepreneur. I believed the statement is not against technology rather the misuse of technology by criminals when we try to stay ahead. In the end, I really believed email/internet scams can be prevented only if we can just apply some sense and logic in our head.

Thank you. Have a good evening!

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