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Nigerian letter-like on LinkedIn

November 14, 2013 6 comments

Read this quick E-Crime Expert Blog Post to see how now LinkedIn is used for the “Nigerian Letter” classic scam.

This scam is also known as 419 scam, because the number “419” refers to the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud.

Yesterday, I responded to an invitation to connect with someone on LinkedIn, who appeared to be a Lawyer (and later a liar:).

Screen shot 2013-11-14 at 19.59.09

Even more, my “new connection” and I appeared to have in common 14 shared connection (this made it even more credible).

Screen shot 2013-11-14 at 19.59.28

Today, I’ve received a LinkedIn message from that “new connection”, message that seems to be the old, classic, Nigerian-letter scam.

Screen shot 2013-11-14 at 19.56.57

How it woks:

This scam usually begins with a letter or email purportedly sent to a selected recipient but actually sent to many, making an offer that would result in a large payoff for the victim. The email’s subject line often says something like “From the desk of barrister [X]”, “Your assistance is needed”, and so on. The details vary, but the usual story is that a person, often a government or bank employee, knows of a large amount of unclaimed money or gold which he cannot access directly, usually because he has no right to it. Such people, who may be real but impersonated people or fictitious characters played by the con artist, could include, for example, the wife or son of a deposed African leader or dictator who has amassed a stolen fortune, or a bank employee who knows of a terminally ill wealthy person with no relatives or a wealthy foreigner who deposited money in the bank just before dying in a plane crash (leaving no will or known next of kin), a US soldier who has stumbled upon a hidden cache of gold in Iraq, a business being audited by the government, a disgruntled worker or corrupt government official who has embezzled funds, a refugee, and similar characters. The money could be in the form of gold bullion, gold dust, money in a bank account, blood diamonds, a series of checks or bank drafts, and so forth. The sums involved are usually in the millions of dollars, and the investor is promised a large share, typically ten to forty percent, in return for assisting the fraudster to retrieve or expatriate the money. Although the vast majority of recipients do not respond to these emails, a very small percentage do, enough to make the fraud worthwhile, as many millions of messages can be sent daily.

Advice:

If you receive similar messages or invitations to connect be suspicious and always double check. The ingenious idea is that now scammers are using LinkedIn which is known as a social platform for professionals, which automatically give the scammer more credibility.

If you recently connected with this person PIUS AVENIDA, better delete her from your connections.

Any questions can be submitted to: dan@e-crimeexpert.com
Additional information can be found at: http://www.e-crimeexppert.com
To find out more about Dan Manolescu, visit his LinkedIn page here.
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Do you know what is your child’s age requirement to sign up online?

May 27, 2013 1 comment

As the Internet permeates every aspect of the economy and society, it is also becoming an essential element of our children’s lives. While it can bring considerable benefits for their education and development, it also exposes them to online risks such as access to inappropriate content, harmful interactions with other children or with adults, and exposure to aggressive marketing practices.

Children online can also put their computer systems at risk and disseminate their personal data without understanding the potential long-term privacy consequences.

In addition, there are other risks for children using online environments, such as:

Privacy risks

-cyber-bullying

-cyber-stalking

-age-inappropriate content

-online grooming

-identity theft

-emotional implications.

Beside support and guidance from parents when using the online environment, an appropriate mental development and understanding is important for a child when using an online platform. For these reasons, in both the United States and the European Union, a minimum age requirements for accessing the “online world” was set as a legal requirement.

E-Crime Expert thinks that the minimum age requirements a child should meet when signing up for an email account, Facebook, etc., should be a topic of interest for parents. For these reasons, we researched the minimum age requirements on some of the most popular online sites and platforms.

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in United States applies to the online collection of personal information by persons or entities under U.S. jurisdiction from children under 13 years of age. It details what a website operator must include in a privacy policy, when and how to seek verifiable consent from a parent or guardian, and what responsibilities an operator has to protect children’s privacy and safety online including restrictions on the marketing to those under 13. While children under 13 can legally give out personal information with their parents’ permission, many websites altogether disallow underage children from using their services due to the amount of work involved.

In the European Union, the European Commission released in January 2012, a Proposal on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation).

This Proposal has specific requirements with regards to Children. They deserve specific protection of their personal data, as they may be less aware of risks, consequences, safeguards and their rights in relation to the processing of personal data. To determine when an individual is a child, this Regulation should take over the definition laid down by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“Article 8
Processing of personal data of a child

For the purposes of this Regulation, in relation to the offering of information society services directly to a child, the processing of personal data of a child below the age of 13 years shall only be lawful if and to the extent that consent is given or authorised by the child’s parent or custodian. The controller (i.e. the person in charge with the collection, use and disclosure of personal data) shall make reasonable efforts to obtain verifiable consent, taking into consideration available technology”.

Following, are the minimum age requirements for children using different Internet websites or Social Networking Services and other online platforms:

facebook-age-restriction

 1.      Facebook:

How old do you have to be to sign up for Facebook?

In order to be eligible to sign up for Facebook, you must be at least 13 years old.

The minimum age requirement on Facebook is more or less enforceable. Simply lying about your birthdate easily circumvents the policy.

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) mandates that websites that collect information about users aren’t allowed to sign on anyone under the age of 13. As a result, Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities require users of the social network to be at least 13 years old (and even older, in some jurisdictions).

According to MinorMonitor, over 38 percent of children with Facebook accounts are 12-years-old and under. Even more worryingly, 4 percent of children on Facebook are reported to be 6-years-old or younger, which translates to some 800,000 kindergarteners on Facebook.

These results come from a survey of 1,000 parents of children under 18-years-old who use Facebook. The company provides a free, web-based parental tool that gives parents a quick view into their child’s Facebook use, including potential dangerous activities such as the friending of online predators, cyberbullying, violence, drug and alcohol use, as well as sexual references.

2.      Google:

Age requirements on Google Accounts:

  •  United States: 13 or older
  •  Spain: 14 or older
  •  South Korea: 14 or older
  •  Netherlands: 16 or older
  •  All other countries: 13 or older

Some Google products have specific age requirements. Here are a few examples:

  • YouTube: When a YouTube video has been age-restricted, a warning screen is displayed and only users who are 18 or older can watch it. Learn more about age-restricted videos.
  • Google Wallet: 18+
  •  AdSense: 18+
  •  AdWords: 18+

3.      Yahoo

When a child under age 13 attempts to register with Yahoo!, they ask the child to have a parent or guardian create a Yahoo! Family Account to obtain parental permission.

Yahoo! does not contact children under age 13 about special offers or for marketing purposes without a parent’s permission.

Yahoo! does not ask a child under age 13 for more personal information, as a condition of participation, than is reasonably necessary to participate in a given activity or promotion.

Yahoo! is concerned about the safety and privacy of all its users, particularly children. For this reason, parents of children under the age of 13 who wish to allow their children access to the Yahoo! Services must create a Yahoo! Family Account. When you create a Yahoo! Family Account and add your child to the account, you certify that you are at least 18 years old and that you are the legal guardian of the child/children listed on the Yahoo! Family Account. By adding a child to your Yahoo! Family Account, you also give your child permission to access many areas of the Yahoo! Services, including, email, message boards and instant messaging (among others). Please remember that the Yahoo! Services is designed to appeal to a broad audience. Accordingly, as the legal guardian, it is your responsibility to determine whether any of the Yahoo! Services areas and/or Content are appropriate for your child.

4.      Hotmail

As on Hotmail’s Terms of Use is no reference to the age requirements to join the service, we did our own registration and it appears that 13 is the age requirement for joining Hotmail, as shown below:

I.                   Attempt indicating the user is 6 years old

Step 1   

1

Step 2                        

2

Step 3

3

 

II.                Second attempt, indicating the user is 13 years old.

Step 1

4Step 2

5

 

5.        MySpace 

  • You must be at least 13 years old to have a Myspace profile
  • If you’re under 16 years old, you’re not allowed to list your age as over 16 and make your profile public (your profile must be set to private)
  • If you’re under 18, you’re not allowed to list your age as over 18
  • Users under 18 are not able to make changes to their listed age

Notes & Tips

  • If you break any of the above rules, MySpace will be forced to delete your profile for safety and security reasons (it’s all in their Terms of Use)

6.      Skype

Skype not directly sets up an age restriction within their Terms of Use.

“Jurisdiction’s Restrictions: If the law of Your country prohibits You from downloading or using Skype Software because You are under the age limit or because the Skype Software is not allowed in Your country, please don’t use it”.

According to this, for US the minimum age requirement is 13 + (COPPA).

7.      LinkedIn

PRIVACY POLICY, 18!

In terms of LinkedIn’s Privacy Policy:

 ”Children are not eligible to use our service and we ask that minors (under the age of 18) do not submit any personal information to us or use the service.”

8.      Twitter

Age screening on Twitter

Age screening is a way for brands and others to determine online whether a follower meets a minimum age requirement, in a way that is consistent with relevant industry or legal guidelines. This makes it easier for advertisers and others with content not suitable for minors (e.g. alcohol advertisers) to advertise on Twitter.

There apparently, is now age restriction for setting up an account on Twitter (as we set it up without being asked about our age). See below:

Step 1

6

Step 2: Done!

7

For more advice on how children could stay safe online (you could also share this with your child), click here to visit the material E-Crime Expert specially created for this purpose.

Any questions can be submitted to: dan@e-crimeexpert.com

Additional information can be found at: www.e-crimeexppert.com

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…, congratulations! You have one of the top 5% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012! – THIS IS NOT A SCAM!!!

February 12, 2013 2 comments

As E-Crime Expert received many emails regarding this message sent from LinkedInDan, congratulations! You have one of the top 5% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012!” and reported it as a scam, I would like to clarify and let my readers know, that this is not actually a scam! I checked with LinkedIn and this message is part of their 200 million members campaign to thank to their members for helping LinkedIn reach this great milestone.

1

Also, if you click through the email, it takes you to a page which shows a message from their Senior Vice President of Products and User Experience on their site. E-Crime Expert checked the link and there is nothing wrong with it, nor there is any sign of hacking or scam.

2

LinkedIn confirmed that they are legitimately using these two email addresses:

1. linkedin@e.linkedin.com

2. donotreply@e.linkedin.com

Message reply from LinkedIn:

LinkedIn Customer Support Message
 
 
Subject: LinkeIn message and links
 
 
Hi Dan,

Thanks for contacting me. I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you.

Dan, these emails are legitimate and from LinkedIn.

If you have further questions, please feel free to reply to this message.

If you have any question you could contact: dan@e-crimeexpert.com

Additional information can be found at: www.e-crimeexppert.com

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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR EMAIL GOT HACKED OR COMPROMISED

February 5, 2013 2 comments

E-Crime Expert explains in this blog post the steps to be taken when your email or Social Networking Site has been hacked or compromised.

When someone’s friends or close contacts start telling that they are receiving emails or messages that one never sent, or when appears online content that one never posted, it could mean that another person has gained illegitimate control over this individual’s email or Social Networking Site.

If this happened, in order to limit the damage and the possibility of spreading malwares/viruses to others, firstly the passwords to all accounts that have been compromised and to other important accounts should be changed*, and also notifications to all contacts regarding that they may receive spam messages that appear to come from the compromised account, should be sent.  

It could also happen that one cannot access his/her account anymore because a password has been changed.

If this happen, bellow are provided the contact details for the most popular email and Social Networking sites providers:

yahoo-logo

* Hacked account – click here:email-icon

* Account is sending spam – click here: email-icon

* Help Center – click here: telephone-logo

Gmail_logo

* Hacked account – click here: email-icon

* Inaccessible account – click here: email-icon

wave4hotmail

 * Hacked account – click here: email-icon

* Inaccessible account – click here: email-icon

* Help Center – click here: telephone-logo

twitterlogo_web

* Hacked account – click here: email-icon

* Inaccessible account – click here: email-icon

facebook-logo

* Hacked account – click here: email-icon

* Help Center – click here: telephone-logo

youtube_logo-copy1

* Hacked account – click here: email-icon

TIPS:

* How to choose a strong password:

Watch video : “Creatting a strong password video tutorial”

Read blog post: “Tips for a better, stronger password”

Frequently check your account activity/log in history as explained in this blog post: “Does anyone snoop in your email account? Find out”

If you have any question you could contact: dan@e-crimeexpert.com

Additional information can be found at: www.e-crimeexppert.com

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13 Growing Job Scams New Grads Should Beware Of

November 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Today, E-Crime Expert features as a guest the Online Colleage.org

The information provided bellow it is a valuable resource package for those new graduates looking for a job.

The job market has stayed pretty tight since the 2008 financial crisis (particularly for those without an advanced degree), and many people are so hard up they’re eager to believe in whatever opportunities come along, even if they smell a little fishy. This is a mistake. It’s not just that you could end up working for no money, you might even be taken for your own savings if you’re not careful. Here’s a baker’s dozen of scams hot out of the con man’s oven:

1. Lists of “pre-screened” jobs that you pay for.

You may see advertisements for lists or databases of sure-thing “pre-screened” work-at-home jobs. All you need to do is send the helpful “job agency” $40 or $75 for the list. How could you lose? Well … easily. The list ends up being worthless and you’re out that amount of money. There are plenty of free resources out there for job hunting, and while they’re certainly competitive and frequently picked-over, at least they’re (mostly) real.

2. Any “free government money” offer.

This simply doesn’t happen. That guy with the question marks all over his suit? Ignore him. In case you haven’t noticed, governments are undergoing a budget crunch, and even in good times they never go around looking for people to give money to. Even if they did, why would that shady middleman entity be bringing it to your attention and offering to share it with you, instead of keeping it for themselves?

3. An “employer” who sends you packages and asks you to “reship” them.

This one could cost you not only money, but your freedom. These “forwarding” or “reshipping” scams are actually ways of fencing and transporting stolen goods, which would at best make you a humiliated (and possibly blackmail-able) patsy, and at worst an accessory to a crime in the eyes of Johnny Law.

4. The envelope-stuffing scam.

These ads have been cropping up all over the place offering jobs that are allegedly paid per mailing you send out. While that’s not necessarily suspect in itself (though for jobs like that, firms usually just hire temps), as always you should be extremely suspicious if the rate of pay seems disproportionate to the work involved. Who ever got rich licking envelopes?

5. Medical billing jobs from home.

As always, if a “work from home” opportunity sounds too good and too lucrative to be true, it probably is. That’s certainly the case with the popular medical billing scam, which often promises massive earnings in the five digits, if only you’ll pay a few hundred in “fees” up front. Don’t fall for it. Real medical billing is a well-established and competitive legitimate industry that would never operate this way.

6. Craft-assembling jobs.

There are “jobs” that supposedly have you put crafts together at home from a kit and ship them off for sale. You really think this wouldn’t just be done at a factory overseas? Here’s the real catch: they make you pay for the kit. Then when you send back the “finished product,” they tell you it wasn’t done well enough and keep your money. If you want to make crafts for fun on your own, go for it, or even open your own Etsy shop.

7. The classic Nigerian scam with an employment twist.

We really hope no one has to tell you to avoid these by now, but someone must be falling for them or they’d give up on sending them, so here goes: no deposed African ruler is ever going to give you access to his bank account, okay? Similarly, if an unsolicited, weirdly long-winded email in broken English somehow bypasses your spam folder to offer you a job … there’s no job. Also, leprechauns aren’t real. So as tempting as the pot of gold may be, cross off that career option too.

8. Typing from home.

There are plenty of legitimate jobs for typists and data entry workers. Nearly all of them will have you come into an office for an interview. None of them will charge you a fee. But scammers will, often for software to “teach you how to make money typing.” You know the way they’ve learned to make money? That fee of yours. Make that a general rule: Don’t apply for any jobs that want you to pay them any amount of money. That’s sort of the opposite of what a job is for.

9. Phishing disguised as job offers.

These ones can be a little harder to spot. Phishing attempts (in which hackers try to trick you into divulging personal data they can use to impersonate you) have always been out there, but the eagerness or even desperation of job seekers may make them especially unlikely to think twice. Real employers do sometimes check your credit, but that doesn’t mean you should hand out your credit card info. And before you give any private information to a potential employer, do your due diligence: Google them at least, and read up. Often, you won’t be the first mark they’ve targeted, and there will be scam reports from fellow consumers.

10. Check “overpayment” scams.

The way this works is, you get suckered into doing some questionable “job” from home. Then your “employer” sends you a check, but quickly follows up with an urgent problem: they’ve accidentally sent you too much money! Could you please wire back the difference when you receive the check? Don’t deposit it until afterwards, of course. There is no legitimate reason for this behavior. Turn them in with the Federal Trade Commission immediately.

11. “Mystery shopper” jobs.

Again, that old rule you should always keep in mind: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. They’re going to pay you to go shopping? Sure they are. For some people, though, it seems too tempting to resist. There are various permutations of this scam but a lot are similar to the “overpayment” scam. In one case, counterfeit checks were sent out and the “change” (real money) was sent back. Although sometimes jobs like this may exist at real companies, no one would ever have to aggressively promote them to get them filled, would they?

12. Money-laundering AKA payment processing.

Beware of any “job opportunity” that wants your bank info right away for direct deposit or any other reason. This is another scam where, even if you don’t personally end up getting stolen from, you may be implicated in a felony, even tied up with drug traffickers, terrorists, or crooked governments. You don’t want to be that person (for any number of reasons).

13. Rebate processing.

This sounds similar to the “payment processing” scheme but it often unfolds differently. They’ll tell you you’re processing sales rebated for legitimate big-name companies (if in doubt, go ahead and call one of the corporations mentioned; their representatives will probably tell you it’s nonsense and may be alarmed that their name is being used). This is likely to be one of those scams where you pay a “trial fee” or buy a “kit” up front. Legitimate jobs simply don’t ever involve those. Be smart and you’ll be able to navigate past the spammers and scammers to find a real job that meets your needs!

About our guest post:

Online College keep you informed about the latest higher education and online learning issues. Read feature articles for classroom management tips, new technology trends in the classroom and other reports on innovative movements in higher ed and the job market

For more info, you could check the Online Colleage website here.

If you have any questions, please contact us at: dan@e-crimeexpert.com

Child Online Protection Initiative

September 14, 2012 7 comments

As of September 2011, Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT) and E-CRIME EXPERT are engaged in a strategic alliance and partnership to exchange information and technologies, thus helping partner countries against cyber threats, malicious attacks and to provide advance warning and vulnerability data. 

E-Crime Expert is honored to be one of IMPACT’s official sponsors for their Child Online Protection initiative, along with Microsoft, Trend Micro, D-Secure, the International Telecommunication Union and many others.

E-Crime Expert joint IMPACT and the other partners in assisting schools and Parents & Teachers Association (PTA) to plan and deploy a sustainable Child Online Protection (COP) initiatives. Our programme strive to;

Assist Parents and Teachers to educate their kids and students on being safe online

 Inculcate good habits for safe internet usage amongst parents, teachers and students

 Understand cybersecurity risks and issues as well as raise awareness on information security.

Having this in mind, E-Crime Expert sponsored this event with an awareness video (designed, recorded and provided to IMPACT on 200 DVDs) on how to stay safe online, and addressed to  children between 11 and 13 years of age.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Nicole Basaraba for her great contribution with the text and video editing, voice-over and also for helping with the idea and plot of this awareness video as with all the other E-Crime Expert’s awareness videos.

Please have a look at Nicole Basaraba’s services offered thorough her website: Annotations Editorial.

 

 

You could watch the video here:

Privacy risks: shopping online/ordering over the phone

September 12, 2012 2 comments

E-Crime Expert presents to you today a classic video on how private information flows over the Internet, could be gathered from different sources (medical, shopping, work, etc), or it could be provided by mistake by the data subjects themselves (individuals). What it could be done with all this private information is concerning if not scary.

I will let the readers draw their conclusion on this video and I am encouraging you to submit your opinion to the “Comments” section of this blog. This video needs no other presentation, it is self-explanatory.

Video: Ordering Pizza:

Any questions can be submitted to: dan@e-crimeexpert.com

Additional information can be found at: www.e-crimeexppert.com

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