ACG-CYBER SECURITY BULLETIN NO 134 UNDERSTANDING THE RISK OF ONLINE INVESTMENT SCAM
The following information was obtained from different cyber security sources for notification to all parties concerned pursuant to the mandate of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG).
The information provided was classified as “Restricted” pursuant to the PNP Regulation 200-012 on Document Security and Impact Rating as high based on PNP Information Communication Technology (ICT) Security Manual s.2010-01 p. 22 and p.129.
The internet is a great tool for investors, providing a source for researching investments and trading securities with unprecedented ease. Unfortunately, the lack of rules on the web also makes it the perfect place for fraud to flourish.
Very few of the scams on the Internet are new. Most of the swindling techniques we see today originated long ago as telemarketing, direct mail, or even door-to-door selling schemes. But the Internet adds another troubling dimension to these old tricks. For example, a fancy Web site can create the illusion of a large and reputable company, especially if it provides links to legitimate sites.
Investment scams usually involve getting its target or victim to put up money for a questionable investment or one that doesn’t exist at all. In most cases, you’ll lose some or all of your money.
Investment scams are often pulled off by a team of people who set up a makeshift office, called a “boiler room”. To convince you their company is real, they might send you to the company’s website, which looks very professional. They might also set up a toll-free number and a respectable address to make the company seem legitimate.
Scam artists understand greed and cater to it, by promising to deliver something for nothing. Internet message boards, spam e-mails and online investment newsletters are three of the most common tools of the criminal trade. If you think you've found a "golden nugget" on an internet message board or you have been the lucky recipient of an e-mail from a foreign national desperate to give away millions of dollars in exchange for your help, remember that greed makes you gullible.
Besides the fact that these operations are based on deception and coercion, many of these salespeople and brokers are not even qualified to work in the securities industry. They are also willing to go to great lengths to swindle you. Some of these so-called brokers will claim to have offices in different countries to give the impression of importance and wealth, but in reality they have set up virtual offices with a mailing address and a call-forwarding system.
Identifying these shady e-mails isn't tough. The e-mail comes from free e-mail providers such as yahoo.com or hotmail.com. Spammers use these addresses to hide where the original message comes from.
The best way to protect yourself from this type of activity is to apply common sense. No matter what you think you have learned online or how much you have convinced yourself that the information that you have uncovered is legitimate, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
All PNP personnel as well as the public are advised to follow the tips in order to prevent the risk in e-mail spam from infecting their devices and computer systems, to wit:
- Be cautious when befriending strangers through social media platforms;
- Do not provide your name, identification number, passport details, contact details, bank account or credit card details to someone whom you do not know well;
- Be wary when asked to send money overseas;
- Be cautious of promises of high returns. Investments with high returns usually come with high risks. Always check with a licensed financial advisor before engaging in any investment; and
- Check on the company and its representatives thoroughly to assess if the investment opportunity is genuine.
For additional information, please refer to the following websites:
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