Creative Scams

It’s Monday morning, the weather in Berlin is cold, rainy and grey, and I have the day off. What could possibly go wrong? The day began with some almost-perfect pancakes, a gorgeously large cappuccino, and the daily crop of crap (spam mail) and an upset cat setting her tail on fire. The pancakes were delicious, but had to be eaten with the fragrance of burnt cat hair floating through the apartment, and the glare of a very sour puss.

It never ceases to amaze me what sort of nonsense ideas bored criminals come up with to try and scam people out there. Either they appeal to your emotions (having previously hacked into your email directory) and claim to be a friend on holiday who was just robbed and urgently needs a loan wired over. Or they try to intimidate by saying that you are the lucky heir to some amazing fortune from the prince in Timbuktu. I’ve also received mails from the FBI, CIA, a range of lotteries around the world, and casinos promising me millions in winnings. This is on top of all the shops trying to sell me cars, homes, holidays, jewellery, clothes, books, magazines or shoes. The list is endless.

Over the years some of these phishing mails have become very sophisticated, especially the bank-related ones, and more recently, the ones related to your internet service provider. Last week I received an email supposedly from Apple informing me that my Apple ID was locked and that I had to click on the link to unlock it otherwise all my data would me lost. First of all, Apple would never send such an email, second, I hope you know to check online for the latest additions of the scams and phishing emails circulating. Still, many fall for these mails and end up losing valuable data and their identity. Even if you are not tech savvy, just discipline yourself to be more vigilant. Cybercrime is on the rise and infiltrating the households in the most innocent ways possible.

Today’s scam mail deserves special mention simply because it is so bizarre, but even more bizarre is the number of people who have fallen for it already! The sender was The Illuminati Brotherhood, which already made me groan in disgust, but the writer in me had to read the creative bullshit the authors of this scam came up with. I received the German version of the mail:

Suchst du nach Weisheit und Wissen? Sind Sie ein Geschäftsmann / eine Geschäftsfrau, Pastor / in, Politiker / in, Musiker / in, Arzt / in, Fußballspieler / in, Student / in? Möchtest du ein berühmter Künstler oder ein Schauspieler (e t.c) sein und in der Welt reich, mächtig und berühmt sein? Treten Sie der Illuminati New World Order bei und lassen Sie Ihre Träume wahr werden, werden Sie heute Mitglied und erhalten Sie die Summe von (5.000.000 USD) einmal im Monat mit einem Auto

but here is the English version some of you out there might have received:

WELCOME TO THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE GREAT ILLUMINATI. Are you a business man, or woman, politician, Artist OR Actress, student, and you desire WEALTH, INFLUENCE, FAMOUS, POWER AND PROTECTION and lot more, be a member of the great Illuminati today and receive $250,000 weekly and $500,000 monthly as membership blessing for you being a member of the Illuminati With this all your dreams and your heart desires can be fully accomplish, for more information contact on this email address: JOINILLUMINATIBROTHERHOOD666@GMAIL.COM please only for the serious once, you can as well message me on whatsapp via +2349056066390

or there is this other version as well

Welcome to the great brotherhood of Illuminati666: +15017229938 call DR RAYMOND, Nigeria, USA, UK and every other place in country on how to join the Illuminati brotherhood to get rich and famous, Are you a politician, business man/woman ,
musical artiste, student, footballer or whatever occupation you do you
want to be rich, powerful and famous in life.Illuminati can grant all your
heart desire join the Illuminati to become rich and famous in life,
Illuminati we make you achieve your dream to become rich and protect you all the days of your life……

a cash reward of usd $300,000 usd
a new sleek dream car valued at usd $120,000 usd a dream house bought in the country of your own choice
one month holiday (fully paid) to your dream tourist destination.
one year golf membership package
a v.i.p treatment in all airports in the world
a total lifestyle change
access to bohemian grove
monthly payment of $1,000,000 usd into your bank account every month as a member,
one month booked appointment with top 5 world leaders and top 5 celebrities in the world»

Further research lead me to various other law enforcement and cybercrime fighting sites not only exposing the hoax and scam, but also bemoaning the fact that so many people have naively transferred money to these people. Initial transfer is $200 followed by $3000 after which you are supposed to receive the benefits listed above. You would think that the wording of the text and the ridiculous email address would be glaring enough to warn you that this is a scam, but you can never underestimate the desperation of certain individuals out there.

There are numerous lists of fraudulent emails or email scams around the world, some going cross-borders, so check with the cybercrime lists and websites in your own country. The lists also include fraudulent job agencies, with fake job offers that often turn out to be fronts for human trafficking. The time for living in a world with rose-tinted glasses is over folks.

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