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!


  1. Absolutely. They are getting trickier and trickier. I kept having a pop up recently that said I won an I-Pad.

    On another note - I'm still not very good at playing the singing bowl!

  2. I have the same problem. Because of my website being how we get our business. Still, I have my spam filter on high so none of that stuff gets through, but I also get a 'suspect' email notification every day which catches the legitimate emails. I can go in and retrieve them.

  3. Nancy make sure that the bowl is in the palm of your hand and the sound is not dampened by your fingers. Drag the stick around the outside of the bowl slowly but firmly. Don't loose contact with the side of the bowl. Until you get it, you can cheat a little by dinging the side of the bowl gently. Good Luck! Call or write if you are really struggling.

  4. What scares me is that there are enough fools out there to make such ventures worthwhile. I guess there is one born every minute. We've received all those scam emails and like you said the one "from a friend" asking for help is one of the worst. You reaction was the right one, I think.

  5. You're right Leenie, it is very hard to ignore a friend in need. Someone else told me today that she got an email from a 'friend' whose wallet was stolen and she was stuck at a conference. Sadly it was all too believable and several of her friends sent cash.

  6. i love reading them - i get one every three or four months - the stories are so improbable and such a treat. i usually end up sharing them with my family - read out loud of course and not forwarded!!! steven

  7. We got an email like that from a friend whose email had been hacked. It requested $ for his daughter's kidney operation - except he doesn't have a daughter.

    Rob' signing bowl is a huge hit in his new meditation class!

  8. Hi Steven, If it were only 3 or four a month I think I would also be more amused. Some of them really are fantastic though!

  9. Trish, I'm so glad Rob is getting good use out of his bowl. I will be taking my entire bowl collection to Virginia Beach this weekend. All of the Edgar Cayce folks will be there.

  10. this is upsetting because there are still people who are victims and lose money and maybe security. i don't think there's anything funny about it. i am grateful my inlaws are not on the internet.

  11. so very odd your post now because i've been having anonymous comments left on one of my blogs and several of us have recently learned that another blogger with whom we've all been blogging for several years was but an imposter to the person with whom we thought we had been blogging - and the imposter also hacked into our friend's email account and communicated with us there as well, all the time, being the imposter - which is why i've instituted comment moderation - a mess! but i've also had similar experiences as you and others in terms of requests for money etc via email - mostly from nigeria - so sad that there is so much deceit in the world - i choose to ignore it and not give it more life by responding to it as much as i can - in any event, very odd your post today! hope all is well otherwise in your world - so sorry i don't get by your blog more often! peace -

  12. Dear Lori,
    You're absolutely right, not funny when people are taken advantage of.

    Dear Gypsy,
    I do worry about the anonymity on the web. There are some very disturbed people out there.