Helena woman loses $1K in online scam

A Helena woman is out $1,000 after being caught in an online romance scam.

According to police, the woman thought she was doing a favor for a man she had been communicating with online.

However, that favor turned into a wire fraud scam.

When all was said and done, the woman had transferred a $1,000 for delivery charges through Western Union, only to find out that she would be responsible for wiring money from someone else's credit card.

Lt. Corey Livesay, an investigator for the Helena Police Department, explained, "In this one, they think that they are wiring it to a place in New Jersey, when in fact this money is being picked up by a person in Nigeria. And when they discover this they feel embarrassed, and they feel completely taken advantage of, which they have been. And in a lot of these instances they are going to be the ones ultimately responsible because the individuals in another country fall outside a lot of the jurisdictional boundaries where we can hold them accountable."

Livesay says never wire money to people you don't know for any reason.

Learn more about this type of online scam at RomanceScam.com, including this overview:

You or someone you know may be dating this person online right now. However, be warned. Things aren't what they appear to be. In reality you're talking to a criminal sitting in a cybercafe with a well rehearsed script he's used many times before. He's hunting through chat rooms, dating sites and social networking sites searching for victims, looking to cash in on romance. If you are over 40, recently divorced, a widow, elderly or disabled then all the better in his eyes. Scammers are adept at psychological profiling, and use any weakness they find to their advantage.

It's the newest evolution of the Nigerian advance fee (419) scam. Instead of sending spam letters that promise millions for your assistance, these scammers are targeting single men and women who are searching for love online.

They use psychological tricks to lure their victims in, use poetry and even gifts to get them under their spell, then once you are there, will try to reach for your wallet, all the time declaring their "undying love" for you. The scam may take the form of asking you to cash a cheque for them through your bank account because they are "out of the country" and unable to cash it themselves, or they may come right out and ask you to send money to help them out of a fabricated "financial difficulty" they claim to be experiencing.


Email Security Firm eleven Reports Spam Levels Decreased 36 Percent in March

(WEB HOST INDUSTRY REVIEW) -- Email security provider eleven (www.eleven.de) announced on Wednesday that overall scam 419 levels in March were 36 percent below scam levels in the previous month. 

The eleven email security report found that the shutdown of Rustock botnet by US authorities with Microsoft on March 16, 2011, led to the reduction in spam levels. Within 24 hours of the shutdown, spam levels fell by 60 percent.

Though scam saw a decrease in March, the level of malware sent via email increased significantly. According to eleven, the amount of malware-infected emails doubled in March compared to the previous month. 

Apparently, this is an expected "reaction to botnet takedowns, where spammers attempt to make up for lost infrastructures by sending mass quantities of Trojans." According to eleven, Trojans were primarily camouflaged as notifications from courier services.

eleven says the decline in spam is the first time that it had fallen below the 90 percent mark since 2009.

The report says that the US is the top third spam source country, with India in the lead and Russia in second place.

February and March 2011 saw an increase in targeted phishing campaigns against banking customers. Current events were also used for deceptive objects including the earthquake and tsunami in Japan where spammers set up fraudulent donation sites.

The complete report can be found on the eleven website.

Last month, eleven released its annual survey which found over half of German IT managers say spam levels have considerably increased over the past year.