Cyber Crooks Go “Phishing”

“Phishing,” the latest craze among online evil-doers, has nothing to do with sitting at the end of a dock on a sunny afternoon dangling a worm to entice hungry catfish.

But, if you take their bait, this new breed of online con artist will hook you, reel you in, and take you for every dollar you have… or worse.

“Phishing” describes a combination of techniques used by cyber crooks to bait people into giving up sensitive personal data such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, bank account numbers, dates of birth and more.

Their techniques work so well that, according to FraudWatchInternational.com [http://FraudWatchInternational.com], “phishing” rates as the fastest growing scam on the Internet.

Here’s the basic pattern for a “phishing” scam…

You receive a very official email that appears to originate from a legitimate source, such as a bank, eBay, PayPal, a major retailer, or some other well known entity.

In the email it tells you that something bad is about to happen unless you act quickly.

Typically it tells you that your account is about to get closed, that someone appears to have stolen your identity, or even that someone opened a fraudulent account using your name.

In order to help straighten everything out, you need to click a link in the email and provide some basic account information so they can verify your identity and then give you additional details so you can help get everything cleared up.

Once you give up your information… it’s all over but the crying!

After getting your information, these cyber-bandits can empty your bank accounts, deplete your PayPal accounts, run up your credit card balances, open new credit accounts, assume your identity and much worse.

An especially disturbing new variation of this scam specifically targets online business owners and affiliate marketers.

In this con, the scammer’s email informs you that they’ve just sent $1,219.43 (or a similar big but believable amount) in affiliate commissions to you via PayPal.

They need you to log into your PayPal account to verify receipt of the money and then email them back to confirm you got it.

Since you’re so excited at the possibility of an unexpected pay day, you click the link to go to PayPal, log in, and BANG! They have your PayPal login information and can empty your account.

This new “phishing” style scam works extremely well for 2 basic reasons.

First, by exploiting your sense of urgency created by fear or greed, crooks get you to click the link and give them your information without thinking.

Second, the scammers use a variety of cloaking and spoofing techniques to make their emails and websites appear totally legitimate, making it extremely hard to spot a fake website, especially when they’ve first whipped you into an emotional frenzy.

The good news, however, is that you can protect yourself relatively easily against this type of cyber-crime with basic software and common sense.

Most of these scams get delivered to you via Spam (unsolicited email), so a good spam blocker will cut down on many of them even making it to your inbox.

If you receive an email that looks legitimate and you want to respond, Stop – Wait – Think!

Verify all phone numbers with a physical phone book or online phone directory like w

Look for spelling and grammatical errors that make it look like someone who doesn’t speak English or your native language very well wrote it.

Never click the link provided in the email, but go directly to the website by typing in the main address of the site yourself (paypall).

Forward the email to the main email address of the website or call the customer service number on the main website you typed in yourself and ask if it is in fact legitimate.

Above all remember this:

Your bank, credit card company, PayPal, eBay and anyone else you deal with online already knows your account number, username, password or any other account specific information.

They don’t need to email you for ANY reason to ask you to confirm your information — so NEVER respond to email requests for your account or personal details.

How To Spot an Online Dating Fraudster (Catfish)

I must admit I hadn’t heard of the term Online Dating ‘Catfish’ until I started to research modern methods of dating to offer women advice on the new rules of 21st century dating and relationships.

If you’ve never heard of a Catfish either then let me put you in the picture… and this is VERY important if you’re searching for love through online dating sites, or considering joining one.

Now, I don’t want to scare the living daylights out of you but I think it’s my duty as an educator and a coach to make you aware of these rotten, dishonest fraudsters so you can be on the look out. Forewarned is forearmed, right?

The majority of these predators are based in Africa, mainly in Nigeria and Ghana. But when they create profiles on online dating sites and social media sites they look like white Western-looking guys just looking for love.

They often go hunting around the Net and steal other people’s photos from their social media sites and invent a great profile and story that pulls their victims in.

They are VERY CLEVER and know the power of the emotional energy people put into online dating – sadly sometimes the rational part of the users brain is somehow overruled by the need to be loved, and this is where the vulnerability takes place.

Here are a few tips to help you spot the Catfish right away

Their photo seems too good to be true – almost like a model. Let’s face it, if they were that good looking would they need to be looking for love online?

One very clever way to catch them out is to do a search on the website TinEye to check and see if the photo has been uploaded somewhere else online. If the photo shows up in other places then they are not genuine

No photos on their profile – on some of the online dating sites you can’t register until you upload a photo – but on some you can. No photo usually means they have something so hide, so be warned.

They have a perfect life as a pilot, brain surgeon or industrialist – again use your common sense – would they be looking for love online? Maybe, but just be on your guard until you know more about them.

False social media accounts with very few friends or followers. Catfish are being very clever and set up false social media accounts so you think you’re actually checking out a genuine person – but the whole thing is a SCAM, especially if they have very few friends on Facebook.

Be especially wary if they try to get you off the dating site to communicate with you by email or phone.

Most of these fraudsters will invent a hard luck story to pull at your heart strings for example, a relative needs urgent medical treatment, or they’ve had a car accident – then they ask you to give them money to help them out.

Asking you for money – you should NEVER part with any money and if you have any suspicions then contact the National Crime Agency or the equivalent authority in your part of the world.

Don’t be drawn into their hard luck stories – they are playing on your emotional state of mind. Also pay attention if they never use your name and also call you ‘Darling’ or ‘Baby’, this is a sure sign they are also contacting other women with the same story.

By always addressing you by a pet name they’re making sure they don’t get mixed up, calling you by the wrong name could alert you something was amiss.

They are especially good at targeting the very vulnerable by looking for clues in their online dating profiles. Are you coming across as too desperate in your profile? Unfortunately, some women tend to pour out their heart felt pleas when looking for their soul-mate online.

You just have to take a look at some of your friends Facebook updates to get what I mean, right?If you think you’re coming across as a bit vulnerable then ask a friend to take a look at your online dating profile and make sure you are not sending out the wrong messages.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this rather long article, I don’t want to worry you unnecessary about online dating and I do want you to have fun… but just look out for these ‘red flags’ of the Catfish and enjoy the adventure!

Top Tips of Keeping Yourself From Getting Catfished Online

As a single mother, I am not ashamed to admit that I have tried online dating. Online dating for me turned out to be more of a social experiment as oppose to a way to find love. There are many commercials and real life stories of people who have found their husband or wife through online dating. So, it is a good assumption to say that there are some people who do reap some benefits from online dating.

But if you watch just one episode of catfish you can see that their are many online dating horror stories. In fact it amazes me at how many people get tricked into dating people for years without ever really knowing what they look like. So here are my tips on how to prevent yourself from getting cat fished online.

Ask For Pictures

Obviously if you met the person online, then you are going to see pictures of them. But just because the pictures are on their profile does not mean that these are pictures of them. Once you start talking to someone, try to ask for random photos at random times of the day. Most importantly ask them to text it to you.

A red flag is if when asking for a picture of someone, and they constantly put you off or send you a picture days after you have asked them. This may be a sign that they got the picture from somewhere or someone else.

Skype or Video Chat.

This one should be a no brainier, if you want to make sure the person that you are talking to is really the person you are talking to, then of course you need to see them. It shocks me how people can go on for years and years with talking to someone online and not see their face. Then magically they are somehow shocked that when they really see the person it is not them.

After talking to someone for a while, video chatting with them is perfectly normal and expected. Once again if someone is actively avoiding you from seeing them, then they are not who they say they are. You should be concerned.

Talk To Them on The Phone

Talking on the phone is one of the easiest things you can do. Almost everyone has a cell phone and there are no long distant charges so there is no reason why someone cannot talk on the phone with you. Some red flags to look out for is not being able to talk on the phone, never talking on the phone while they are at home, or being rushed off the phone. This may not only signify that they are are not who they say they are, but that they may be hiding a spouse or a hidden life from you as to why they are not free to talk on the phone at various times of the day.

Background Check

I am not talking about running their social security number but rather researching the information they tell you. This includes running their image through image search to see if the pictures on their profile come up as someone else. Also do a reverse phone search, their phone number should come up registered to them and in the location they say they are in.

Progression of the Relationships

As with any relationships, their should be some type of progression. This means you should be talking on the phone, seeing each other, making plans to go on real life dates. Never under any circumstances should you be in a situations where you have been taking to someone for years and years and have never even seen their face. After of about two month (max) of talking to someone, you have not seen their face in person or on Skype then just let it go. Something is wrong here.

As a single women and mother I have tried all the dating tips and trick. And they are all in my book “Waiting For A Man After God’s Own Heart.” Read the first two chapters free on Amazon. Click this link to purchase http://www.amazon.com/Waiting-After-Gods-Heart-Encouragement/dp/1493698303/ref=tmm_pap_title_0