CYBER SCAMS GREED OR LACK OF OPPORTUNITIES?

Hackers capitalizing on ambitious aspirations of Internet users

MUNTAZIR HAIDER
May 28 - Jun 03, 2007

SCAMS & HUMAN NATURE

It is human nature always to be on a look-out for opportunities in any form; let these be opportunities to earn or to invest - the two basic modes of money flow. With the rising level of inflation in the world, everyone is looking for one way or the other to make money. For investment purposes, individuals are looking for better rate of returns that can enhance the future value of their money ahead of the rate of inflation. At the same time, the individuals who are on the job are looking for part-time engagements because many a times, it is not possible to have the basic necessities financed through a single job and even if financed by a single job, then there is no possibility of a saving. So in both means, they are looking for opportunities to increase their current standing. This is a human nature i.e. to strive for beyond the current standing. This gives birth to a phenomenon of scams i.e. fake and fraud opportunities that involve individuals, earn through them, and wind up the business; this is probably the simplest definition of scams. There are scams for both part time job seekers as well as for the investors. For job-seekers, it is getting the work done and gone when it comes to paying while for investors; it comes to vanishing in thin air with investment. There have been several such happenings in Pakistan for both and many such investment schemes and selling of plots and similar cases are all written in the history where employees were not paid and the buyers were sold non-existing properties.

CYBER SCAMS

With the advent and enhancements of technology, a new term that is growing is Cyber Scams. It is now all over the Internet; starting off with cyber crime such as credit card transactions, it is now on with actually scams and their relative forms on the Internet. Some of them are discussed in this article so that the readers are aware of it and think well before moving into such a case. In basic terms, cyber scams are the scams that take place in the cyber world i.e. over the Internet.

1. DEATH OF A NIGERIAN PRINCE

This is the funniest, most productive by figures and stats, and the most regularly attempted scam in which, it is often referred to some road accident that took the soul of some prince or high level diplomat leaving behind the undeclared property that needs to have a next-to-kin and the writer wants your cooperation to have the money transferred to your account. The first thing is why would they want to trust a stranger? Once I entered into this agreement and said I would assist you and the procedure went on and finally they said that the money has arrived in Islamabad and they send me the picture of a huge box with US dollars and wanted me to go there and received it. Of course I didn't bother traveling because it did not make sense. Another time I was asked to come at the Dubai Port to receive the money. Next time I told them in their first mail that where I work, they have my passport so I cannot travel and I am a poor person so have no money, you can send your money through Western Union and have the remittance charges deducted from my share and poof... the guys vanished and no mail from them since then. Important here is an incidence where a friend of mine gave them his account information for remittance and they wiped off all the money from his account. So the lesson to learn is not to leak the account information except the known and useful individuals.

2. YOU HAVE WON $10,000

Another one worth laughing that since you have won the amount, now you need to send some form of money worth $5... the interesting question I asked them was why not deduct the $5 and send back $9,995 to me as I won them.

3. DOUBLE YOUR MONEY IN 90 DAYS

So far, there have been schemes just giving away money and taking a little but this is one scheme that takes in an investment of at least $5,000 and claims to double in 90 days. Many might visualize a similar company, Lakshmi Chit Fund, in an Indian movie Hera Pheri II, and a rightly thought idea; it is similar in nature but it is all online requiring the money to be sent through credit card or Western Union. It is worth-mentioning that these guys play a long run plot in which they undertake early losses for long term benefits. Initially, people are paid double the money of their investment primarily to spread word of mouth and gain access to more funds, and understandably enough, the second lot of investment finances the first one's profits. It is just a stroke of luck that who goes in the first lot and who goes in the second one. However, the risk of might be getting in the first lot isn't worth it and the chances of failure are high.

4. EARN $20,000 PER MONTH WORKING AT YOUR HOME & FREELANCE WRITING

It is very common these days to see these ads floating around that invite freelance writers and writers for web content, etc. claiming that individuals can earn good guns through such activities. It is 100% true that these activities have potentials of making writers earn beyond a lac rupees per month but the bottom-line remains the requirement of an authentic and genuine source leading to this. As a personal experience, I have come across several vendors, one of them being the renowned www.essaywriters.net that received my services and then denied making payment on the due date. Such activities are, therefore, a part of the cyber scam.

GLOBAL & LOCAL IMPACT OF SCAMS

This is not a fault of the individuals, it is the current global economic condition that has led individuals into seeking such opportunities which is taken as a window of opportunity by individuals and capitalized on. However, on the whole, the global impact is the reduction of trust amongst the human race, especially on the internet activities; internet activities can truly make the world a global village. Imagine if only this freelance writing thing is appropriately outsourced to any part of the world, there can be several million dollars flowing from one part of the world to the other, bringing the economic flow betterment and a blessing in disguise for the third world countries. Similarly, if investment activities are advertised through the internet, if scams can make good guns then even the genuine can make billions. But these scams have lead to the doubts even over the reliable international vendors and associates, spreading out the threat of having losses if a cyber business is done.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES

The bottom-line issue is the fact that the individuals and groups should ensure not falling for such traps and avoid money transactions on the Internet as much as possible because it is the data of such transactions that leads eventually to these individuals targeting innocent individuals. In the earlier sections, the term not-so-innocent has been used because the individuals should have enough common sense to appropriately analyze that is the offering viable and possible or not.

Investors should avoid dreaming of becoming millionaire over night; it is possible but requires usage of mind. There are different opportunities in the local and international scenarios that would take time to take off but are sure to in near future e.g. highway or Gawadar property investments; the point being to go for safer investment rather than such a risky one that has tremendous chances of taking away even the principle investment. Similarly, it is also recommended for service-rendering people to prefer less but guaranteed earning. For example in free lance writing, if a local vendor denies payment, there are several methods for getting the money out but in international vendor, this isn't a possibility. It is agreed through consensus that the local vendors do not pay as high as the international ones, probably just a 33% of their actual earning but still at least the payment is guaranteed by one means or the other.