Friday, June 25, 2010

Deposit Scam: Malaysian Oil Company Manager

Deposit scams (also called 419 scams, advance-fee fraud schemes, etc.) are a common e-mail phenomenon. The sender typically purports to have some money that they need someone else to handle, claiming that if the e-mail recipient accepts the invitation to help, he or she will get to keep some of the money. Although many such scams have originated in Nigeria, there are numerous examples of this type of fraud from around the world.

Take for example this latest scam from someone who claims to be an oil company manager in Malaysia:
From: "Farouk Mohanla" {faroukmohanla @ gmail . com}
Reply-To: {faroukmohanla @ gmail . com}
Subject: Please read this message carefully.
Date: June 25, 2010
My name is Farouk Mohanla, I work as a manager for oil company here in Malaysia. I write to solicit your assistance and cooperative supports to enable us retrieve the balance of $10,000,000 which is for a contractor who executed a supply of Hi-Tec Crude Oil mini-refinery CDU Unit to my company, he passed on few months ago after completing his contract and left no beneficiary to his contract balance benefits upon completion. I need to know if you will stand as his beneficiary to receive his contract benefits.
I sincerely assure you this is absolutely risk-free and shall follow legal procedures in confirmation that there is no risk involved and with trust and understanding we would be able to collect these funds to our own mutual benefits. If you are interested reply me back.

Farouk Mohanla..
If someone you don't even know randomly e-mails you and offers you a share of $10 million, hopefully you'll recognize it as a scam and report it to the authorities and the e-mail provider of the Reply-To address (in this case Gmail).  For several major e-mail providers such as Gmail, Yahoo!, and Hotmail, the address for reporting fraudulent account activity is abuse@[provider's domain].com.  Reputable e-mail providers will suspend the offending account to ensure that nobody else can send replies to it. I also recommend forwarding such messages to depositscams@coldrain.net, operated by the anti-spam and anti-fraud organization KnujOn.

Further reading about deposit scams:
http://www.knujon.com/depscam.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance-fee_fraud
http://www.ic3.gov/crimeschemes.aspx

If you believe you have been defrauded, you can file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3):
http://www.ic3.gov/

Speaking of online scams, Microsoft released a video earlier this month that supposedly shows what happened when they set up a fake bank in New York and asked real customers for their sensitive personal information. The video is an advertisement for Internet Explorer (which I don't necessarily recommend), and I should point out that all other major browsers (Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Opera) also have built-in anti-phishing protection.




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