Is recycling always good for the environment? Not when fraudsters do it!

Its great to see that virtually every modern industry is embracing going green. Funnily enough fraudsters are as ever ahead of the game and have been recycling for years.

“Upcycling also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality”.  (Wikipedia)

Every week we see fraudsters embracing “upcycling” and taking a scam which has become so overused that few fall for it, giving it a little care and attention and trapping a whole new crowd of victims. The letter shown below is a great example:

This is the new version of the old email from a “Senior Bank Official” from Nigeria. In that email you could expect some terrible spelling, awful grammar and a Dear Sir/Madam.

This new version is an actual letter rather than an email, it is personally addressed to Alistair Moore and the money waiting to be collected belonged to someone with the same surname. So, in this new improved version of the scam someone has gone to the effort of finding the intended victim’s name and address, has personalized the letter/scam and created a good deal more credibility then the old version. However, the simple rule “if it sounds too good to be true, it’s a scam” is the acid test that even this 2.0 version of the scam fails to pass.

Another example is the Tesco’s text message informing recipients that they have a package waiting at Tesco, click on a link to confirm, (as recently covered in our Scam Alert). At its core this is really just an old phishing scam telling people that they have won a prize and that they need to click on a link to get, one click leads to another, simply hand over some personal information, including credit card number for a £1 payment and a lovely new mobile IS NOT on its way to you. The innovations include, sending it out as a text rather than an email, so stopping email filters blocking it, the quality of the fake Tesco’s website is very good, (see picture below) and generally the production quality of all the pages is very high and horribly believable.

What can we learn from this? Well, the main lesson is about making sure that we don’t become complacent about any of these scams. When we do fraud prevention talks people often joke about “BT internet scam call” and “Nigerian lottery emails” but we always worry that those people making those comments may think because they know about those scams that they won’t be caught out by others.

Given that 1 in 3 UK adults will the victim of cyber fraud alone this year, the numbers show that nobody can afford to be complacent. We all need to keep reading about them, keep talking to friends and family about them and stay ahead of the fraudsters who will keep upcycling making their scams ever more convincing and realistic.