ACG-CYBER SECURITY BULLETIN NO 144 UNDERSTANDING THE RISK OF ADVANCE FEE 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.
Advance-fee scam is a form of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence trick. The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, in return for a small up-front payment, which the fraudster requires in order to obtain the large sum. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim or simply disappears.
There are a vast number of scams and fraudsters will use any means, phone, mail or email to contact their targets.
The scammer claiming to be a business person, royalty or even a law enforcement agent or political official. The scammer will request what seems to be a small amount of money in order for them to return a much larger amount of money to the victim. They may also claim that the victim has won a lottery or been left an inheritance from an unknown relative, and the scammer needs a “nominal” fee to transfer the money to the victim. They may also request the victim’s bank information or photocopies of their identification, birth certificate or other official documents. While these characteristics may seem easy to spot, advance-fee fraud hinges on playing with the victim’s emotions. The scammer may not only relay a lengthy sob-story, but also attempt to illicit feelings of desperation in the victim to jump on a chance at “free” money.
If you’ve responded to an email or a text messages like this, you’ll probably be targeted again for other frauds. Sometimes the original fraudsters may try to contact you using a different name to try to defraud you again, because your details are usually sold on to other fraudsters or they may pretend to be police officers or lawyers, offering to help you recover your lost money, but then also ask for a fee.
If someone is claiming to be from a particular organization verify the identity of the contact by calling the relevant organization directly find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. Do not use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.
Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency, like Bitcoin. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
All PNP personnel as well as the public are advised to follow the tips in order to avoid the risk of Advance Fee Scam, to wit:
- Don't believe the promise of large sums of money for your cooperation.
- Verify the validity of any check before you cash it.
- Do not send personal or financial details to people you do not know
- Be cautious of business deals requiring you to sign nondisclosure or non-circumvention agreements.
- Be sure you know who you’re trading with. If you aren’t familiar with the person or company you plan to do business with, learn more about them.
- Don’t respond to any email like this. Delete it straight away.
For additional information, please refer to the following websites.
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