World of India!: CurrentAffairs : Netizens beware- Email frauds gaining fresh currency e

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CurrentAffairs : Netizens beware- Email frauds gaining fresh currency

Email frauds have become a familiar feature in India, claiming many an innocent (?) victim. The reason I question whether all victims are indeed innocent, will become apparent as you go through the various forms of email frauds that are being practiced in India and of course, world over. Some of the most common email frauds in India are :

1) Phishing: Sending fraudulent messages on behalf of a company and seeking to gain personal and financial information(ex: credit card numbers, internet banking user id's and passwords), which can be exploited to defraud the victim.

2) Various 'help' requests : Email asking for financial help, in return of which, a large amount is promised eventually. There are various forms in which 'help' requests arrive at the victim’s doorstep and fraudsters constantly keep adding new twists to their tricks, once the original trick is detected by investigation agencies and warnings are issues to people. Some of the most common 'help' requests are, to seek the victim’s help so as to enable release of large sums of unclaimed money from a bank/financial institution, in return of which the victim is promised a cut ranging anywhere from 25-50% or more. The fraudsters, often, gain the victims confidence by talking to him on the phone and faxing/mailing fraudulent identification papers, which seek to prove that they would be able to get the money released. I personally received the following offer from fraudsters, who claim to be in Burkina Faso. I reproduce the letter received verbatim, so that readers gain a good view to the modus operandi :

"DEAR FRIEND,

I KNOW THAT THIS MESSAGE WILL COME TO YOU AS A SURPRISE. I HOPE THAT YOU WILL
NOT EXPOSE OR BETRAY THIS TRUST AND CONFIDENT THAT I AM ABOUT TO REPOSE ON YOU
FOR THE MUTUAL BENEFIT OF OUR BOTH FAMILIES. I AM A SECRETARY OF FOREIGN
REMITTANCE DIRECTOR ADB BANK HERE IN OUAGADOUGOU BURKINA FASO.

I NEED YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE IN TRANSFERRING THE SUM OF ($25.6)MILLION TO YOUR
ACCOUNT WITHIN 14 BANKING DAYS. THIS MONEY HAS BEEN DORMANT FOR YEARS IN OUR
BANK WITHOUT CLAIM. I WANT THE BANK TO RELEASE THE MONEY TO YOU AS THE NEAREST
PERSON TO OUR DECEASED CUSTOMER, THE OWNER OF THE ACCOUNT DIED ALONG WITH HIS
SUPPOSED NEXT OF KIN IN AN AIR CRASH SINCE JULY 31ST
2000.

I DON'T WANT THE MONEY TO GO INTO OUR BANK TREASURER AS AN ABANDONED FUND. SO
THIS IS THE REASON WHY I CONTACTED YOU SO THAT THE BANK CAN RELEASE THE MONEY TO
YOU AS THE NEXT OF KIN TO THE DECEASED CUSTOMER. PLEASE I WOULD LIKE YOU TO KEEP
THIS PROPOSAL AS A TOP SECRET AND DELETE IT IF YOU ARE NOT INTERESTED.

UPON RECEIPT OF YOUR REPLY,I WILL GIVE YOU FULL DETAILS ON HOW THE BUSINESS WILL
BE EXECUTED AND ALSO NOTE THAT YOU WILL HAVE 35% OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED SUM IF
YOU AGREE TO HANDLE THIS BUSINESS WITH ME."

BEST REGARD.

MR.FRANCIS JOMO.

3) Fraudulent offers to buy goods/services at cut price rates, provided victim pays in advance.

In India, scores of people have come forward till now, confessing that they have fallen victim to these frauds. Many people have transferred tens of lakhs of rupees, in pursuit of 'unclaimed bank accounts',' treasures', which never materialized. A bigger problems is the fact, that most of the perpetrators reside in African countries, especially in West Africa, where prosecution of fraudsters, even if they are caught, is a real issue. Bribery is rampant in police forces of many of these countries, but the sheer scale boggles even the minds of Indians, who themselves, are used to Bribery at home. This means that its easy for the perpetrators to escape, even if they are apprehended. The other problem is expatriation treaties, or the lack of it , with many of these countries having no expatriation treaty with India.

The outlook is rather bleak. It seems that Netizens have to protect themselves and the best way to do this is fast dissemination of information via the Internet itself to the general public and novel methods to defraud society at large are introduced. But at a larger level, these frauds won't stop, till the countries of origin take stringent action against the few, which are bringing disrepute to entire populations.

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