Saturday, October 22, 2011

Knowing What You Want

I found this print in a used book store in Kobe, Japan. It's one of my favorites so I thought that I would share it with you.

Remember your joys! Your life's purpose is in what you love.

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. -Lao Tzu (venerable teacher)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Internet Scams and Running an On Line Business

Looks like Bad Breath in the Cyber World Doesn't it?

Sometimes I think I get more deceitful email than anyone else on earth. I would guess that I get at least 4 of these a day:
Dear Partner, I am Mrs Elena, financial controller to Mikhail Khodorkovsky the richest man in Russia and owner of the following companies:Chairman CEO:YUKOS OIL (Russian Most Largest Oil Company)Chairman CEO:Menatep SBP Bank (A well reputable financial institution with its branches all over the world)  Please get back to me to give you details of the transaction.if you are interested please provide below information :  Your full names : Address : Your country : Age : Phone and fax number : Occupation : Do you own a company: 
Part of the problem is that I can't block every unknown email because they may be potential customers for my business and some are my suppliers. For the most part they are easy to identify and trash.

These are some of the more common scams I've seen:
1. Are you deceased?
2. Lottery
3. Death of an unknown relative
4. Wanting to leave everything to me for my charity
5. IRS refund
6. Credit Card notice of fraud activity
7. Banking error
8. eBay concern
9. Pay Pal concern
10. Mysterious Fed Ex Package in my name (by the way what's my name?)
11. Powerful Rich man dies and I have his money, help me move it.

Here are some key words that get my Spider Senses tingling:
1. Nigeria, Russia
2. Let me introduce myself
3. This may come as a surprise to you
4. Urgent
5. Threatening legal action
6. Looking for a partner in your country
7. You have won!

(I'm sure your can come up with many more.)

The primary methods in these types of scams are greed and fear. If you always remember that you don't get something for nothing you are half way there. For almost everything else I simply ignore the email and contact the company directly. I did once have an issue with Pay Pal but it said so on my account when I looked it up. If in doubt I recommend contacting the authorities.

What brings this to mind today is a more tricky and insidious scam. I'm not even sure how it was done. I have been placing orders with the same man in Nepal for 12 years when suddenly he asked for help. This is completely out of character for him. I have helped people in the past by buying in larger quantities or fronting them money so that they can purchase materials. I have even given outright gifts. This time my friend was asking me to send money to him in China by means of Western Union to a name I have never heard before. (If you send cash, you can't get it back. Don't do it!) Oddly enough, he was responding to my requests for inventory and delivery dates and everything else seemed normal. What I didn't notice at first was that his return email address was incorrect by an extra 's.' Very tricky indeed. I did not send money, instead I sent a message to him through a mutual friend to find out if he knew that his email account had been hijacked.

Be careful out there!