Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beware, an SMS could hoodwink you - - 15 Nov 08

Cyber fraudsters have adopted SMS as the new communication code

HYDERABAD: After e-mail, SMS is the new communication mode used by tricksters who resort to the Nigerian fraud of duping unsuspecting people of money.

Also known as advance fee fraud or 419 scam, the Nigerian fraud is a ‘confidence trick’ in which the trickster sends an e-mail to a person falsely claiming that the latter had won a lottery and requests him to deposit money for processing the prize money disbursal. Several Hyderabadis fell prey to this modus operandi losing lakhs of rupees in the past few months.

With the Hyderabad police undertaking an awareness campaign asking people not to respond to unsolicited mails, such cases have come down. “But the fraudsters are now using SMS instead of e-mail to lure individuals,” Hyderabad Detective Department DCP R.S. Praveen Kumar says.

Content of the SMS sent to the target’s mobile phone would be more or less the same as in the mail. “Your mobile phone number has won a lottery prize. Send processing money to the agent at this address...” reads the SMS.

Another method adopted is hacking personal e-mail ID of a person, collecting those of his relatives and friends and sending mails to them requesting for immediate online transfer of money with concocted stories.

Incidents of hoodwinking people in this fashion are on the rise in the country, and already, two such cases were reported in the State capital prompting the police to issue an advisory.

Investigators are neither sure whether a single gang is behind it nor from where the tricksters are operating. But they have appealed to the public not to get carried away by such false mails.

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