Brazen New E-mail Scam

Just when I think e-mail scams can't get any more brazen, or e-mail readers any more careless, I get surprised again. “Job offer at your location” arrived today, combining two amazing scams in one spam. At least they're saving bandwidth by combining scams. No doubt they consider themselves “green” spammers.

Most of the pitch is the old money broker scam, where some wonderful business in Africa, and in this spam they actually say it's Nigeria, needs helping transferring money for online purchases. It seems many people are wary of sending money directly to Nigeria. It boggles the mind that any US consumer would think of sending money to some company they don't know in Nigeria, but you remember that Barnum said suckers arrive 60 times an hour.

The money broker pitch is pretty basic. Someone buys something, but since sending money to Nigeria is questionable, they need a US address, and the Nigerian company wants to use yours. The customer sends you money “either in form of Money gram or Western Union and rarely USPS money order” (yes, that's the direct quote). You pick these up from the nearest Western Union store, deposit the check or money order in your bank, take your $100 per transaction fee, and send the rest on to Nigeria that very day.

Scammers aka con artists send bogus checks or counterfeit money orders, expecting you to put these in your bank, see the balance bump up, and send the money before the bank deducts the money from worthless check from your account. Here they hint that you can get cash from the Western Union office, which would seem to ruin the scam.

That's because the scam is not the check cashing and money brokering but identity fraud. In order to get this wonderful work from home opportunity, you have to send a high resolution “scan of you valid ID card as an American citizen” [sic] along with your resume. They suggest sending a state ID, international passport, or driver's license scan to prove you're a citizen.

If your coworkers are dumb enough to fall for the money brokering scheme, are they also dumb enough to scan and send their driver's license? Could be. Once done, the identity theft machine cranks up and your coworker becomes yet another in a long line of victims.

Those who feel the need to confirm the existence of this wonderful job can do so via Instant Message, not phone. It seems our scammer is hearing impaired and can't use the phone. A neat way to avoid a phone number, and a little extra tug on the heartstrings of the gullible.

Shame on Google mail for letting this into my inbox. Shame on them again for letting it in twice. And shame on you if you don't refresh your coworker's awareness of scam and phishing e-mails while this example is on your mind.

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