Example of Military Email Scam

 The email from Bill Betterman seeking help to get money out of Iraq is a typical example of the advance-fee-fraud scheme. The advance-fee fraud scheme has been made popular by the Nigerian 419 scam modification and finds its roots in the Spanish Prisoner scheme of the late 1800s.
We have seen a number of advance-fee-fraud variants with a military theme.

Some of the frequent variants to advance-fee fraud schemes that we see in the email example you provided:

Spammers asks victim not to reveal the proposed transaction to. Spammers chooses methods to communicate that provide secrecy and that are difficult to trace back. They often use free email accounts with which the provider does not validate subscriber information. The transaction will likely include fax exchanges at one point when the offender will use a relay service to help cover his/her tracks.

Frequent causes of victim’s financial losses: 

1) The Scammer will make multiple requests that the victim wire money to offender to cover a number of supposed transaction expenses (e.g. bribes to local officials or customs agents in the offender's locale, wire transfer fees associated with wiring money to victim, and handling fees).

2) The scammer will ask the victim to wire money as a sign of good faith so the scammer knows he can trust the victim with the money that he supposedly will wire him/her.

3) The scammer will finally ask the victim to send his/her bank account information to the offender so that he knows where and how to wire the money assured in the scam. Once the victim stops paying the supposed transaction expenses (as listed under #1 above), the offender will likely start draining the victim’s bank account using the account information provided by the victim. This process could include creating fake checks to be drawn on the victim's account.

 The military variant appeals to the support U.S. citizens hold for our enlisted servicemen and servicewomen. Thus, criminals look to take advantage of this support and the trust we place in our military personnel. We have also seen variations of the advance-fee fraud scheme that take advantage of the generous nature of U.S. citizens. These include schemes with the following charitable themes: AIDS, cancer, and Hurricane Katrina). There have also been variants that take advantage of the trust a person places in romantic partners/interests. The offender, typically a male, lures weak women through online dating sites and farms the relationship (online) to the point at which the criminal begins asking the victim for money. The money will allegedly pay for the offender’s travel expenses to see the victim.

Advance-fee fraud schemes accounted for approximately 10% (9.8% exactly) of the complaints made to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) during 2009. This kind was the third most frequently reported type of fraud made during 2009 (passing even identity theft - which was 4th with 8.2%). The median loss per victim of advance fee fraud that started when the victim was first contacted via the Internet was $3,000 (Internet Crime Complaint Center, 2004).

Data Entry Scam

 Data entry scams or home based typist job con typically target people searching for 'work at home' business chances. Data entry scams can have numerous variations, but a lot of them involve deceptive people into buying affiliate marketing materials in the name of data entry work.

Most people would picture data entry work to involve entering data in a database or something alike. But that is not the case at all. If you join such a website or program, you will be asked to endorse products online or offline using advertisement that you will have to type (or write). They are probable to provide you with some advertisement templates/samples that you can copy and use it yourself. So just because you will be typing those ads, they are referring to it as data entry typist job.
Once you have the ads prepared, you can circulate those ads using various means. Most usually you will be asked to use PPC or pay-per-click advertisement, such as Google Adwords and others. They might also give you ready made website that you may use to earn some money. By websites, they mean the webpages only. Domain registration and website hosting charges will be your own. You will have to spend your own money to put up those ads and hopefully someone will click on those ads, buy the product you are promoting and only then you will receive some payment.
The products that you would be asked to advertise are typically from ClickBank, which is one of the several free-to-join affiliate networks. One call also finds real data entry or writing jobs in self-employed websites.
Essentially, what is being referred to as data entry work is really Affiliate marketing or Internet marketing. Associate marketing itself is not a scam. Lots of people are working and earning from home using associate marketing. But it is a scam to hoodwink someone into buying something that is not what is made out to be.

Spammers Ride Thrill of World Cup

One of the few things more irritating than having to challenge with hundreds, if not thousands of vuvuzelas while trying to watch a World Cup game is putting up with spam. And like the vuvuzela, the World Cup seems to be drawing out these irritations, with MessageLabs estimating that 25 percent of global spam is associated to the event.

"Right now, spammers are dependent on the massive wave of enthusiasm and expectation that usually surrounds an event like the FIFA World Cup," said MessageLabs aptitude Senior Analyst, Paul Wood. "Riding this wave, spammers get the attention of their victims by offering products for sale or tempting them to click on a link. It is not rare for the event to appear in the subject line of an email but for the body of the same email to be completely not related." 

With the U.S. out of contention, England falling in controversial fashion, and the World Cup as a whole soon coming to an end, this almost certainly won't be the case for very long, but that doesn't mean there will be a sudden reduction in spam. According to the report, nearly nine out of 10 emails are now spam, and in the U.S., exactly 90 percent of email is spam. Engineering is the highest sector for spamming at 94 percent, while Education is a close second at 89.9 percent followed by Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals at 89.7 percent.

7 online scams and how to avoid them

Some scams are so bald-faced and ungainly that you wonder that anyone still falls for them. Others have a reasonable finish of plausibility that can seduce the unwary. Keeping that in mind, here’s a run-down of some of the most harmful online rip-offs as well as one or two that add a new spin to the art of online deception.

Nigerian (419) Scam

This one, which plays on greed, is one of the oldest digital rip-offs on the books. You get an email from a affluent Nigerian who needs help in transferring millions of dollars from his motherland. If you are able to assist in the process, the email continues, you’ll receive a sizable cut of the fortune as a reward.

The different types of scam    

eBay Buyer Remorse

Buying on eBay can be great fun as well as a source of bargains on a whole abundance of goods and services. It can also be a disillusioning experience if you never receive the goods you bid on and paid for, or if what you gets doesn’t live up to the seller’s description. A bulk of eBay sellers are genuine and go the extra mile to maintain their good standing. In a barrel this large, though, there will be some bad apples. Avoiding them is the best way to not get ripped off.
eBay suggested looking at a seller’s feedback before hitting the buy button. Just click on the seller’s feedback score next to the seller’s user ID. If you’re dealing with a new seller who doesn’t have any feedback or with one who has negative feedback, use the “ask a question” link to converse directly with the seller. You should also look at the icons by the seller’s user ID to learn more about them.

Gone Phishing

Identity theft is living and well online. One of the slicker phishing ploys making the rounds comes in the form of official looking emails claiming to be from a bank, credit card company or site such as Best Buy or eBay asking you to verify your account details and password. The email is usually tricked out with genuine looking logos and authoritative text reassuring the recipient that their security is a supreme concern and includes a link for you to use in the verification process. Don’t do it.

There may be subtle clues that the email is not as it seems, such as the return header containing a Hotmail address. The best clue, though, is that lawful companies never request this kind of information via email. If in doubt, go to the institution’s official web site by typing its URL in the address bar of your browser, not by clicking on any links in the email you received. The scam may be listed on the home page. If in doubt about the authenticity of the email you received, call or email the institution’s customer support department.

Disaster Scams

Your gentle impulses offer rip-off artists an opening to take another shot at your wallet in the wake of well-publicized disasters such as Hurricane Katrina or the earthquake that devastated Haiti. The latest to raise its larcenous head uses the Iceland volcano that grounded flights around the world as its vector.

The fraudsters hack email accounts and start sending emails to that account’s contacts list. A mournful message is sent out saying that the account holder is stranded because of the outbreak and needs money to get home. The receiver is instructed to contact the sender on where to send the money and the message includes an email address that looks like it comes from a Gmail account but is slightly different. A quick phone call can defuse this little bit of skullduggery.

Your Resume Has Come to Our Attention

Remember, stealing your time is as much a rip-off as taking your dollars. The major job search sites such as Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com do a good job of directly channeling job hunters to apposite opportunities without inundating them with sales pitches or making them jump through hoops to browse job listings and details.

But there are some that take your job seeker and use it as a vehicle to upsell you to paid memberships if you want access to premium job listings or solicitations to fix your resume for a fee. Some are infamous for offering personalized analysis that in actuality prove to be prescribed boilerplate based on the keywords you use in your resume. The companies that do this are relentless. The best litmus test for a job search site is this: Does it spend more time steering me to the services it sells or to genuine job openings?

Craigslist Connivers

Craigslist is a wild and woolly bazaar of goods for sale, apartments for rent, jobs listings and meeting people. Because it’s faceless and usually free to use, it also offers safe haven for rip-off artists. Craigslist apartment listings, chiefly in large metro areas such as New York City, are well-known hotbeds of fraudulent activity.

You see a listing for an incredible rental in a desirable neighborhood at a below-market price. Because it’s such a great deal and will rent quickly, you’re asked for an advance deposit, even though you won’t be able to see the apartment before forking over your money. You can see where this is going. Fraudguide.com reports that one woman running this scam collected $60,000 in rent and security deposits from several dozen different people. If you’re looking for an apartment on Craigslist, park your trust at the door and do your due diligence.

Phony Anti-Virus Software

Fake anti-virus programs account for 15 percent of all malicious software, according to a new Google study. Computer users are tricked into downloading these programs when a window pops up on their screen telling them that their computer has been affected by a virus. It offers a link to an antivirus program they can download that claims it will cure the problem. It won’t, since there’s no problem to begin with, but it will either steal the user’s data or demand a payment of $40 or more to register the fake product. Sometimes it does both.
The best cure is to not click anything and close down your browser. Know what anti-virus programs are installed on your computer and make sure they’re up to date. They should already be protecting you.

Scammers have damaged the Internet

How scammers have worn Internet trust and practical scam prevention tips.

Online scams cost individuals and businesses more than $500 million in losses in 2009, doubling 2007's figures. Scams have pervaded the Internet from search results that feature malware-loading attack sites to phishing emails to even false dating communication. Online con has so endanger trust in common Internet communication channels, that it can be believably said that scammers have damaged the Internet. “It seems that wherever you go online, you are exposed to scam risks,” . Previously trusted communications like bank email and other “official” notices can no longer be trusted. “To fight this enveloping threat, I am proud to announce that IXDownload.com has launched its online scam resource and information page to help online consumers and general Internet users evade scams. The resource page lists the the common methods of online scams along with detection methods and scam avoidance software tools.

Greed-based scams focus on “something for nothing.” Nigerian419” emails, “free iPod/iPad” salvation notices, and alike scam fall under this heading. “Today's online scammer is very complicated. They really know how to push the planned victim's emotional buttons. Indeed, one of the fastest growing “genres” of online scams, dating scams, and exploit one of the most basic human needs—the need for love. You won't believe the exciting manipulation unprincipled dating site affiliates will stoop to”, posing as women, immoral dating site marketers, based on proceedings records, use email, classified ads, chatrooms, and even webcams to trap unsuspecting victims. it's gotten so bad that people looking for dates online must be further suspicious of online personal ads to make sure they are genuine and not out to up sell them to a dating site subscription. Phishing and identity theft schemes are uncontrolled and continually evolving. From bank “notification” emails to domain registration emails to account notification to email attachments that load attack sites, phishing attacks have taken on a huge assortment of forms that it is easy to get tricked into opening these types of emails or search results.

“When it comes to online scams, common sense is not too common since the explicit modes change. We are changing all of that by helping customers develop a 'scam-aware' mindset. By focusing on common methods as opposite to exact scam names or operations, we aim to develop a “sixth sense” which tells customers to take a series of preventive actions whenever “something just doesn't feel right,””

Report released by IXDownload .


Is it against the law to bypass spam filters?

Vonage trusts not.

"You could Save up to 50% on Your Phone Bill!" screamed an email from Vonage. Obviously, users protest this unwanted, bulk email was spam. But some spam filters weren't having it -- a surprising number of these messages reached user inboxes. Vonage's marketing agent sent the email from a list of "nonsense" domain names, including the unpronounceable urgrtquirkz.com. certainly that's prohibited?'

The U.S. CAN-SPAM Act defines illegal email behavior in several ways. The applicable one relates to falsifying email headers. California law has a alike provision against sending email with falsified, misrepresented, or forged header information.
Craig E. Kleffman, a deputy DA at LA County, brought a class-action suit against Vonage in a California district court. He supposed that the use of several garbage domains was, in fact, header parody. After all, none of these domains indicate that the messages were from Vonage or from an affiliate representing the company:
  • superhugeterm.com
  • formycompanysite.com
  • ursunrchcntr.com
  • urgrtquirkz.com
  • countryfolkgospel.com
  • lowdirectsme.com
  • yearnfrmore.com
  • openwrldkidz.com
  • ourgossipfrom.com
  • specialvrguide.com
  • struggletailssite.com

The district court disagreed and noted that the California law was anyway pre-empting by CAN-SPAM. However, it permissible Kleffman to appeal. The Ninth Circuit later ruled likewise. To cut a long story short, the California Supreme Court published its ruling in the case on Monday.
The court noted, and Kleffman agreed, that the domains were correctly registered to Vonage's marketing agent in Nevada. But Kleffman's quarrel was that the use of these domains was "likely to deceive" and that the section of state law referring to distorted headers proscribes this type of "unfair" business practice.
As a spam filter technologist, I dish up users, not lawyers. I have to block whatever my customers define as spam; I'm nobody's lawful arm.
  • Some countries (China, Russia, etc.) aren't taking a lawful approach to spam.
  • In other countries, we get a great deal of help from controllers mainly if there is an opt-in law. 
  • In still others (such as the U.S.) direct marketers can play actions like this to avoid filters. They may be legal, but we block them because users want us to.
Of course, most spammers -- more exactly the senders of most spam -- don't care about the law. The question here is what do about rogue direct marketers.
A good spam filter should, eventually, block whatever the recipients perceive to be spam. There's no law compelling users to accept unnecessary email.

Scam Baiting

Scam baiting is the best practice of pretending interest in the fraudulent scheme offered by scammers in order to manipulate them. In simple terms, you enter into a dialogue of spammers simply to waste their time and resources. At the same time scam baiters will help to keep the real victims away from these Nigerian 419 scam and scammers. In Nigerian spam  is to alert the People from Spam Email.An advance-fee fraud is a confidence trick in which the target is persuaded to advance sums of money in the hope of realizing a significantly larger gain. For further Details : Nigerian spam 

Scams and victims

Fields, a great comedian of the '30s and '40s, carefully recapitulated the true core of all confidence scams with the title of his 1939 film, You Can't Cheat an Honest Man. All confidence tricksters depend on the victim's own greed to hook him into the scam that cheats him out of his money. Maybe the most generally known today is the notorious “Nigerian scam,” also called the “419 fraud” for the section of the Nigerian criminal code it violates. The victim receives a letter, a fax or, most often today, an e-mail, stating that the sender possesses a hidden, usually illegal, hoard of money, and needs the help of an honest person to launder the money. The sender promises huge profits from this illicit partnership-and only needs your detailed bank account information to start sending the funds. You can guess what happens next.

In the past, most confidence scams go unreported, because the victims are too embarrassed to admit they have been taken by a story that, looked at impartially, is wildly unlikely. When the victim, or mark, does come forward, our sympathy is usually diluted by our laughter at the mark's foolishness. It's a socially satisfactory form of blaming the victim.

That's all well and good when the mark's greed is for money. But what about when the “greed” is for a spiritual goal like the aged pensioner scammed by a fluent televangelist? She wants only to do good and, at worst, increase her holy riches. Only the crassest observer laughs at these victims.

And-the point of today's column-what about the victims of immigration scams, where the mark is simply looking for a better life, in a better place? At the far end of the scale are the processes involving illegal immigrants, which often pose real risks to the life and health of the snakeheads' customers. Remember the two shiploads of people intercepted by the Coast Guard and briefly interned on Tinian over a decade ago? No one here was very concerned, in large part because most people resented the CNMI being used as a holding cell to keep the boats' passengers from applying for sanctuary once inside U.S. borders.

Today's column is not about this kind of aspirant immigrant. Rather, it is about the people we have been seeing more regularly, who have believed fables based on the idea that the CNMI-federal immigration transition provides a path to legal immigration. Some think that they are developing loopholes cleverly discovered by the confidence tricksters, and others just don't know U.S. immigration doesn't work the way they have been told. All have spent extensive sums of money, typically between $10,000 and $30,000, sometimes more. Except for some high-end “investors,” this money represents life savings plus everything they could borrow. All had hopes of legal immigration. All have been resentful, and many have inadvertently become illegal here.