I'll Say It Again - Cyber Criminals Are Smart!
On the train coming into work today a close mate calls and says. "I think I am being scammed". We discuss his situation and sure enough, in my opinion he is being scammed and even he, in all his sceptical judgement was about to throw out $2000 in an online scam of pure brilliance I was almost impressed to see.
The scam was simple, but brilliant. You may of heard of this kind of thing before, but it was a first for me. My friend, let's call him Tommo (real name hidden to ensure privacy) is selling a motor bike (It's a nice motor bike too). Tommo gets an email of offer from an online buyer who wants to buy the bike (without seeing the bike of course) and they agree on a price. The scammer then transfers the money to Tommo's paypal account, and adds another $2000 to the agreed price. Scammer then explains that the $2k extra is for a collection fee he needs to pay his 'agent' who will be coming to collect the bike on his behalf. Scammer needs Tommo to send the $2k via Western Union to a contact in London and 'as soon as this is done, the total amount in the Paypal will be released'. However, because none of the money is released, the scammer tells Tommo to use $2k of his own money, and he will get the whole sum back once the deal has been finalised.
Now if you are picking up that this is smelling dodgy, then we are both on the same page.
Paypal has a very popular escrow service that is great when buying and selling products. However, needing to send cash via Western Union BEFORE Paypal will automatically release escrow funds - not likely.
So, there you have it. Another creative scam that almost netted $2000 from a person I know to be extremely sceptical and highly unlikely to get scammed. Be warned.
About Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown is one of Australia's foremost commentators on consumer lifestyle technology. He publishes, produces and hosts CyberShack, is Channel 9's technology expert, and hosts Life & Technology and 2GB and NewsTalk 4BC.
Charlie is able to communicate, educate and inspire a huge audience, without confusing technological jargon.
Life & Technology is on the air Sunday mornings at 10am on 2GB and NewsTalk 4BC.