Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Beware! Swindlers invade chatrooms


Internet-based chatrooms have become a safe haven for online fraudsters but more people have started to realise the electronic mail (e-mail) antics of these fraudsters.

Investigations by ITRealms Online revealed that several online fraudsters now prefer to engage people via chatrooms as an extension of the spam mails they bombard people with on daily basis.

The term chat room or chatroom, is basically associated with any form of synchronous and intermittently asynchronous conferencing. Therefore, it entails that any technology, ranging from real-time online chat over instant messaging and online forums cutting across all aspects including discussions on sports, entertainment, politics, information technology, romance and more socio-economic environments, could be classified as a chat room, more so when individuals respond at their pace simultaneously.

According to our investigations the most hit are the popular ones like Yahoo! Messenger, Skype and Microsoft-owned Window-Live! to name a few.

Although some commercially minded internet enthusiasts see chatrooms as advertisement-supported instant messaging client and associated protocol provided by some service providers, like Yahoo! Others still see it as a veritable means of communicating exclusive information for two or more people as a group.

However, scammers simply search for contacts and any email that comes up is an automatic target, as they would claim that they have known you for a while, but going through their kind of mails, definitely exposes such antics.

They are even more aggressive when you refused to add them to your contact list long after they made their initial request.

One of the instances is a mail pasted in Skype by Shaheen Ahmed with electronic mail address; shhnahmed5@gmail.com. Part of the circulating scam mail reads thus:

“Hello Nweke, I have tried to reach you on Skype phone, but your line was busy, so I decided to write you this message. I have been in search of someone with this last name “NWEKE”, so when I saw you online, I was pushed to contact you and see how best we can assist each other. I am AHMED.S, a Bank Officer here in U. A. E. I believe it is the wish of God for me to come across you now. I am having an important business discussion I wish to share with you which I believe will interest you, because it is in connection with your last name and you are going to benefit from it.

“One Late Michael NWEKE, a citizen of your country had a fixed deposit with my bank in 2003 for 60 calendar months, valued at US$26,700,000.00 (Twenty Six Million, Seven Hundred Thousand US Dollars) the due date for this deposit contract was last 22nd of February 2008. Sadly Michael was among the death victims in the May 26 2006 Earthquake disaster in Jawa, Indonesia that killed over 5,000 people. He was in Indonesia on a business trip and that was how he met his end.

“My bank management is yet to know about his death, I knew about it because he was my friend and I am his account officer. Michael did not mention any Next of Kin/ Heir when the account was opened, and he was not married and no children. Last week my Bank Management requested that Michael should give instructions on what to do about his funds, if to renew the contract. I know this will happen and that is why I have been looking for a means to handle the situation, because if my Bank Directors happens to know that Michael is dead and do not have any Heir, they will take the funds for their personal use, so I don’t want such to happen. That was why when I saw your last name I was happy and I am now seeking your co-operation to present you as Next of Kin/ Heir to the account, since you have the same last name with him and my bank head quarters will release the account to you. There is no risk involved; the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law.

“It is better that we claim the money, than allowing the Bank Directors to take it, they are rich already.

“I am not a greedy person, so I am suggesting we share the funds equal, 50/50 per cent to both parties, my share will assist me to start my own company which has been my dream. Let me know your mind on this and please do treat this information as TOP SECRET. We shall go over the details once I receive your urgent response strictly through my personal email address, shhnahmed5@gmail.com.

“We can as well discuss this on phone; let me know when you will be available to speak with me on Skype. Have a nice day and God bless. Anticipating your communication.

AHMED.S.”

Experts, however, cautioned that such e-mails should not be responded to by simply ignoring it, that way you are not telling the online scammer that your email is active.

So, beware! Of the messages you reply online.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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