A compendium of news/articles/videos/pictures/events/stories that triggered the “Oh my god alarm!” Omygdaily – June 29 2016 edition will discuss:
- A woman in Bengaluru commits suicide after being defrauded of ₹11 lakh in a phishing scam. Online fraudsters informed her of winning ₹45 lakh and promised releasing the entire sum only after she paid them ₹11 lakh to take care of issues such as customs clearance. She paid the scammers the amount without informing anyone, even her husband. When she realized she has been duped, she committed suicide. Tragic!
- A primer on Brexit.
A woman in Bengaluru commits suicide after being defrauded of ₹11 lakh in a phishing scam. (Read More)
This is so sad. An unfortunate tragedy that could have been so easily prevented by following the maxim—on the internet trust no one. It is too late to save the woman’s life, but it isn’t too late to save others from being conned by fraudsters. Please inform your near and dear ones about steps to take to avoid being duped by fraudsters online. Here are some useful resources that can be perused and forwarded to all you know.
- 10 ways to avoid to avoid phishing.
- How not to fall prey to email scams and online fraudsters.
- 10 Common Email & Internet Scams – How to Avoid Them
Do you know that, more often than not, the vector for scams like this is the social media. Many people have the same password for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Many people also link their email accounts with Facebook. Hack one account and you get access to all. Next, the hackers can carry out whatever nefarious plans they have in mind. In 2012, LinkedIn was hacked and 164.6 million accounts and personal information of 117 million users were stolen. A few months ago, the hacker responsible for the attack started selling that data to the highest bidder. Recently, the social media accounts of many people, including Mark Zuckerberg’s, were hacked using the stolen LinkedIn data. You should review the linked articles to get a feel of crappy passwords used by many users, which is another reason hackers find it so easy to break into user accounts.
Let me share an anecdote with you. One morning, I received an email from a friend of mine. The email stated that he and his wife are visiting England and have been robbed at gunpoint. Now, they are stuck in a Podunk town in England, have no money for food, water and shelter, and with no financial resources available to them to return home. Hence, he asked me to send them some money using Western Union. The email originated from his personal email account, hence, I shouldn’t have been skeptical. However, I still undertook some verification measures.
First, I asked him to confirm a few things—where they worked, where I worked, what is my phone number, etc. He responded with the correct answers. Next, I asked him, if everything was stolen, including his laptop and mobile phone, how is he able to send me emails. His answer—using a computer at a local library. I then asked him why hasn’t he contacted the police. He responded by saying, he had no money to make a call and, moreover, the nearest police station was a few kilometers away, and a heavy downpour was preventing him from walking to the police station. Next, he got emotional on his email to me. He wrote saying, he thought I was one of his good friends, and how he was always there for me, and here he is now stuck in the middle of nowhere and seeking help from me, and I am being hesitant to offer him any help.
When he appealed to my sentiments, I instinctively reached for my wallet to send him some money using my credit card. However, something seemed amiss, something still didn’t seem right to me, my sixth sense kept on nagging me about this whole incident. Hence, I decided to give him a call, knowing full well that he had mentioned a few moments ago that he had been robbed of all his personal belongings at gunpoint. I still decided to take a chance.
So, I dialed his number. The phone rang for a while and then a voice answered. Guess who answered the phone, it was my friend. He was home, sleeping late because it was the weekend. When I told him about this email from him from England; he laughed at me for trying to be facetious. After I told him that his email account is probably hacked and his contacts are probably receiving the same email I had received, and some of them are probably wiring money to the hacker as we speak, he jumped into action.
We later found out that his email account and his Facebook account had been hacked, and many of his contacts got the same email I had received. However, it being a weekend, many of them weren’t awake to respond to the hacker’s email. And even though the hacker got into his account, (s)he did not change his passwords or the secret questions associated with the login ID. Hence, it was relatively easy for him to get control back of his account. Lucky him!
Now, you may be wondering, how did the impersonator answer my questions correctly. (S)He went to the Sent folder, reviewed the emails exchanges between my friend and I, and answered all my questions.
So, what’s the moral of the story—on the internet trust no one.
A primer on Brexit (Read More)
If you would like to know everything about the Brexit campaign, then, this primer is for you. If you would like to learn the difference between UK, Great Britain and England, then, this primer is for you. I am sure many people are unaware of the differences.