We know that scammers are getting nastier, and I’ve had three nasty scams this week.

The first was a short email that said something like ‘We know your password is xzxzzxz and that you have been accessing a porn site. Whilst we admire your taste, we have used your webcam to record what you were doing and we will share it with your friends and family unless you pay us $1200.  We are sure you will agree that this is a fair price to protect your reputation.’

The password (not the above!) was in fact genuine and one I had used with my BT mail when it was hosted by Yahoo.  However, I had long since changed it.  And since I have not accessed porn nor do I have a webcam, I knew the email was a scam, but it was still a shock to receive it.  Of course, I just deleted it.

The second scam was a recorded message purporting to be sent by BT from an 0800 number, claiming that my line had been used for hacking and they were going to disable it unless I replied to the message.  After ignoring it the first time, it rang back twice more.  Anyone with the vaguest knowledge of the internet would realise that this was just a new version of the call ‘from the Microsoft Service Department’, but it would have been scary for vulnerable people, who might well have ‘pressed 1’ as instructed.

The third scam was an email purporting to come from ‘WeTransfer’ from someone that I do business with, saying that he was using the system to send me a business proposal.  Although this was entirely possible, I had fairly recently spoken to him and there was no inkling in that conversation that I might get such an invitation.  So without opening the message, I responded back to enquire what it was about, and I got a reply using some Americanisms that (as rather a stickler for correct language) I could not imagine he would use.  Needless to say, I deleted it.  And since I’ve heard nothing more, I was right to do so. Even so, it seems that either WeTransfer or some other system has been hacked.

Of course, I’m often getting the obvious scams – one from a ‘very nice guy’ who kept phoning with ‘helpful investment advice’.  It was only when I said to him ‘Your office is very noisy – it sounds as though you’re calling from a Boiler Room‘ that the calls stopped!

Another variation on the telephone call scam received today.  “This is your credit card security department.  You bought an item for £600 from a foreign company.  If this wasn’t you, press 1”

Well, I know from experience that a real credit card company firstly tells you who they are and asks to speak to the cardholder by name, along with various other details.  I don’t know what happens if you do press 1.  Do you end up paying for a premium rate phone call?

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