Scammers are moving with technology too, now they are using SMSes be warned

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Yes it  is 2011 and internet has been around here for more than a decade now.  If you have been around for that long or even a quarter of that time then you definitely know about the email scams. Bear with me if you have been around for sometime , but there are new users online and it seems they are falling for  the scammers.  Online con artists come in different shapes but most of them are in  form either a rich uncle died somewhere in a war ( God bless Africa)  and left a fortune that a fellow who apparently work for  some strange bank can’t access. But at least he can do it through your assistant which includes giving him your bank details  and in return you share the loot. Working in a bank and can’t access the cash?  People need to be serious here.

Then there is the other version where you are told to have won million of dollars in some form of competition or promotion or a lottery.  At the beginning of the process what they need are your details and dang you an instant millionaire or trillionaire if you are in Zimbabwe. The problem with this is that  at some stage you are asked to pay admin charges , shipping charges, insurance charges ,  delivery charges and all those add up to some serious cash. Their mode of payment is cheque , yeah they have never heard of electronic transfer.  Anyway two simple questions, why would an organisation willing to give you that huge amount still want you to pay them administration cost and why can’t they just cut the portion from the amount awarded and how do you end up winning money in a promotion or a competition or lottery you have never participated in?  At least with the Kenyan version of 2929 and 6969 , you have to send sms first in terms of participation.

Recently i got a call from a guy in Nakuru who thought i work with Orange. Being a blogger some people think i work with companies i write about. Ok the guy wanted to verify the authenticity of such emails and i was shocked how deep he had fallen for the scammer. I mean he was somehow disappointed when I pointed out that he should never look at those nonsense again or else one of these days he will be shedding tears.  Sounding not that convinced i directed him on how to get Orange Kenya, may be that will be better.

Now it seems the scammers are moving with technology. Call it being where the masses are. They have moved to mobile smses and emails and Nokia guys are giving strong warning to the public

“We have been receiving a number of reports recently that scam artists are sending out hoax SMS and emails, purportedly from Nokia, that offer some sort of money if one were to respond in a similar way that lotteries are run. We would like to clarify that, those messages are not coming from Nokia and that we do not do money lotteries. We are asking people to beware and know that this ‘lottery’ is a scam,” said Kenneth Oyolla, Nokia, General Manager, East and Southern Africa.

“Our advice is that if you do receive something dubious like this, DO NOT reply to these messages or pass them on. The thing to do is to delete the message without responding. You might also consider contacting the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) to report such hoax messages,” said Mr Oyolla.

He added: “We continue to remind people that bank details should never be given to strangers, particularly if all you know about that person is a contact mobile number and nothing else. If you haven’t entered any competition, or if the prize looks too good to be true, then it almost certainly will be. Let’s have a safe 2011.”

How the Nokia Lottery scam works:

There are a couple of methods these scammers use, in the hope of stealing your money.

Method 1: A mobile phone user will receive an email claiming they have been chosen at random, to receive a prize, usually a large figure of money. In this case, £350,000 is the prize. However, to receive winnings the mobile phone user is informed he/she must send them some money as an admin charge. £650 in this same case. They hope you’ll be so dazzled by the large sum of money they claim you have won, that you will send the administration fee. It is at this point you will never hear from them again and your money will be lost.

Method 2: This is commonly used through contacting a mobile phone user by SMS. These text messages will tell you you’ve won a heap of money, like in this case, but you must first phone a telephone number or email back to hand over your bank details. Do not do this. Never give your bank details to a stranger, especially if all you know about them is their mobile phone number.

Whatever method they use, they will be asking for the same thing. Either your bank account details, or some money in another form and the messages they send always look official, but they’re not. They’re fake.

Examples of hoax emails and SMS circulating:

Hoax claim: Free Nokia mobiles

“Nokia Is Giving Away Phones For “FREE”!! Nokia is trying word-of-mouth advertising to introduce its products. And the reward you receive for advertising for them is a phone free of cost!”

Hoax claim: Nokia mobile Promo

“In line with the commemorating event marking our 142nd anniversary we rolled out over £ xxx (xx Million Great Britain Pounds) for our 142nd Anniversary Draws. All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 25,000 company mobile numbers, and 30,000,000 individual mobile numbers from the 45 mobile networks from Australia, New Zealand, North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa as part of International Promotions Program, which is conducted annually in Britain, London.

This promo is approved by the British Gaming Board and also licensed by the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR). This promo is the 1st of its kind and we intend to sensitize the public. To begin the verification process of your prize, you are required to fill and send the claims form below.”

Hoax claim: Nokia/UK promo

Congratulations! Your cell phone has won you xxxxx (GBP) pounds in the ongoing NOKIA/UK PROMO. For claims call: 44xxxxxxxx or email: [email protected]

What to do if you receive a Nokia Lottery scam SMS or email

Don’t respond to the messages, doing so will only encourage them to keep contacting you. There are several agencies and sites out there to help you, where you can report the fraud in the hope to get these stopped:

What is your opinion on the topic?
Kennedy Kachwanya
Lead Blogger at Kachwanya.com
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Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.
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