Almost Scammed

visa logoThe most clever people on the Internet are the social engineers who work hard convincing you to willingly give up your security info. I had a run-in with them tonight. The call came on my cellphone from an 888 number.

First things first. When the Caller ID standard was established, pre-Internet, pre-VOIP, it was left insecure! As you’ve probably noticed, making up a phony number appear on your phone is no problem.

I answered the call and was greeted by the most robotic, lifeless, computerized voice I’ve ever heard. VISA, Inc. was calling, or so the voice said. My debit card’s use was being restricted for Internet and online purchases unless I pressed “1” to verify information or called the VISA security department.

The option for me to call VISA is an integral part of the scam. It adds a sliver of legitimacy to the call.

I stood there for a moment, staring at my phone. I was perplexed and confused. The call was almost legitimate enough for me to act.

I hung up.

I’m going to place a lot of the blame for this on the credit card company’s themselves. They have legitimized this kind of interaction by heavily leaning on automated systems like the one the scammers use. We are conditioned to believe credit card companies will call without human involvement or with obviously non-American voices.

We are used to calls where no questions can be asked!

A few minutes later Helaine’s cell rang. She, Stef and I all have six of the seven digits the same. The automated system was just dialing in sequence one at-a-time.

A quick Google search of the phone number shows others getting this call within the last two days. My guess is the number is changed often to keep from being blocked.

People are the weakest part of the security equation. We want to believe authority. We have a weakness for social engineering.

Seriously Facebook… This Again?

If Facebook isn’t equipped to fight off this tiny and easily identified threat how will they perform against something big?

With nearly 5,000 Facebook friends I am a spam magnet! Unfortunately for me my goal is keeping my Facebook account accessible to all which makes me vulnerable to everything! The spams started coming early Saturday.

OMG! Its unbeliveable now you can get to know who views your facebook profile.. i can see my top profile visitors and i am so shocked that my EX is still creeping my profile every hour. click below

I have received that automated message at least a half dozen times in the last two days. Each time its posted on my Facebook wall. It is the worm on the end of the hook! It is trolling for fish.

The first one I received came from a friend with an EX. Trust me, she doesn’t care to stalk his Facebook account.

Facebook claims and I believe you can’t do any of the things these spammy scams promise and yet they continue to promulgate week-after-week-after-week. Even worse they’re sent through Facebook’s internal mail system. Is there no filtering?

If Facebook isn’t equipped to fight off this tiny and easily identified threat how will they perform against something big?

Facebook wants us to trust them with nearly everything personal and private in our lives. They’re a long way from getting my trust.

Facebook Is A Scammer’s Paradise

It’s not a question of being able to police their apps. Facebook’s got the money. They just don’t want to spend it.

For about the zillionth time I’ve killed a scam which appeared on my Facebook “wall.” If you’re on Facebook you’ve seen it or something close. There’s a photo of a winsome young woman always dressed, but still provocative. It’s flanked by come-on text promising the video that got her suspended, or drove her father to kill her, or (the latest),

Sofia, 22 yrs Girl from Chicago committed Suicide before a Cam after breakup. First time a Live suicide death video of true lovers in the history on a Cam (Weak hearts dont watch

The fact that some Facebook friends were curious about seeing this “Live suicide death video” is troubling in its own right. Still, it’s a scam! I don’t know exactly how the scammer intends to extract something from me. It’s a scam nonetheless.

Why does this happen? Sure there are crooks, but Facebook is complicit.

It’s obvious Facebook does a really poor job of screening the apps they allow to live on their platform. Any human would instantly recognize what’s going on, meaning Facebook doesn’t have humans involved in the screening process before an app goes live.

Apps can even ‘tag’ the photo with someone’s name. Tagging is supposed to mean you’re in the photo. Accent on the word “supposed.” Tagging moves the photo to the ‘tagees’ wall as the photo above was moved to mine. More incentive for the scam artists courtesy of Facebook!

Facebook has made a conscious decision about how much your safety and security is worth! I think their decision is misguided!

From Business Week January 11, 2011: Both The Wall Street Journal (NWS) and The New York Times (NYT) appear to have gotten their hands on some of Facebook’s internal financial results as part of the offering documents that Goldman has been giving to high-net-worth investors in its new fund. The Journal says Facebook had net income (i.e. profit) of $200 million in 2009 and revenue of $777 million. While figures for last year weren’t disclosed, the Journal adds, “analysts have said the company’s revenue last year could be as much as $2 billion, fueled by advertising growth.”

It’s not a question of being able to police their apps. Facebook’s got the money. They just don’t want to spend it.

How long would we allow scammers to set up shop in the mall? I’m not sure websites have the same legal liability to provide safety as a shopping mall, restaurant or bank. Maybe it’s about time they did?

My Scammy Facebook Friend

Never underestimate the resourcefulness of crooks! If there’s a place for them to operate they’re there in a hurry.

Never underestimate the resourcefulness of crooks! If there’s a place for them to operate they’re there in a hurry. That means I shouldn’t really be surprise to get what looks like a 419 scam message via Facebook.

Ansu Sonko hello how are u there i hope u are fine and well am ansu from the gambia 22old can we be friendships u can add me ansusonko@**** di u have msn what is ur name and age where are u from what is ur job what are ur hobbiest my is learning football ok and mucian

Ansu ‘friended’ me on Facebook. My policy is to accept all requests because many viewers I don’t personally know request it. I’ve come to a point where I believe that’s a good thing&#185.

His message was posted multiple times on my profile. He left it on a video, wall post and as a comment to a link.

It’s not the broken English that leads me to conclude it’s a scam&#178, it’s that he’s trying to move the conversation off Facebook to regular email. He understands his time on Facebook is limited. It won’t take long for him to be banned.

An email conversation gives Ansu freer reign to work his magic without supervision.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Big city residents lock their doors. Country folk often don’t. Facebook has become more-and-more a city full of strangers.

For a site that claims it wants to “make the world more open and connected” this is a sad moment.

&#185 – Originally I thought I’d keep Facebook for more traditional friends. Some people were offended when ignored. I would be too. Once I realized that my policy changed.

&#178 – The official language of The Gambia is English. It is a former English colony.