Avoiding Scams: Don’t Be a Sucker!

I assume that no-one reading this blog is so lacking in sophistication that he/she could be duped by the Nigerian scam (the emails come from other countries, too, nowadays). That’s the one where, written in a grammatical form that can only be described as God-awful, the perpetrator tells you that he needs your cooperation re a huge sum of money he’s come into possession of and is willing to share this bonanza with you, i.e. make you rich, in exchange for that cooperation. He gives you a list of personal-information details he needs you to provide. You roll your eyes when you get one of those phishing emails, don’t you? Of course you do. But how sophisticated are you when it comes to the other phishing emails that are quite a bit more polished and believable?

On February 3, 2013 I received an email from Mystery Shopper myst@gmail.com that said:

Hello,

We have a mystery shopping assignment in your area and we would like you to participate. We conduct surveys and evaluate other companies. You get paid $200 on every survey assignment and an additional $150 for transport allowance and other materials for the assignment. Get back to me if you are interested in participating.

Sincerely,

David Garfield

I sent Mr. Garfield the following reply (Yeah, I wanted to have some fun):

I received the following email:

Hello,

We have a mystery shopping assignment in your area and we would like you to participate. We conduct surveys and evaluate other companies. You get paid $200 on every survey assignment and an additional $150 for transport allowance and other materials for the assignment. Get back to me if you are interested in participating.

Sincerely,

David Garfield

My reply: I might be interested depending on the details. Please get back to me with the specifics.

This is what I got back two days later from a different email address—David Garfield davgarfield101@gmail.com:

Dear Survey Agent,

Thanks for your swift response to our earlier mail. We get hired to go to other peoples companies and act like customers in order to know how the staffs are handling their services in relation to their customers.

Once we have a contract to do, you would be directed to the company or outlet and you would be given the funds you need to do the job (either purchase things or require services) after which you will write a comment on the staffs activities and give a detailed record of your experience. Examples of details you would forward to us are :

1) How long it took you to get services.

2) Smartness of the attendant

3) Customer service professionalism

4) Sometimes you might be required to upset the attendant to see how they react to clients when they get tensed (under pressure).

We turn the information (you give us) over to the company executives and they would carry out their own duties in improving there services. Most companies employ our assistance when people give complaints about their services or when they feel there are needs for them to improve their customer service. Your Identity would be kept confidential as the job states (secret shopper).

As stated in our earlier mail, your total entitlement on each survey assignment is $350. You would have flexible hours as it suits you but only for 20yrs and above. If you are interested do send in details below:

Full Name as it should be on payment:

Address: (NOT PO BOX)

City:

State:

Zip Code:

Nationality:

Sex:

Marital Status:

Date of Birth:

Age: (20 and Above)

Home phone number:

As soon as we get the above information, we can look at your distance from the locations which you have to put your service into, and your address would also be needed for your payments.

Regards,

David Garfield

Mystery Shop Coordinator

After I stopped laughing, I sent off the following reply:

You may telephone me at 847-525-9397. You may send me a website link or provide other concrete information so I can not only speak to you, I can research, verify you. If you’re not willing to do any of this, I will simply assume you’re the phony I suspect you are. Prove to me otherwise. 🙂

If you do not prove to me otherwise, I will not only contact legal authorities, I’ll write a blog about it. I have a huge audience.

Needless to say, “Mr. Garfield” didn’t respond.

Not only do I want you to be aware that scams like this exist, I want you to “run for the hills” when any offer that comes in an unsolicited email seems too good to be true.

I recently received a highly sophisticated phishing email that was designed to make me believe it was from Paypal. I was suspicious and called Paypal; they let me know that it was, indeed, a phony. If you have the slightest doubt, do not click on any links!

Do not give out your personal information to anyone you don’t know! Don’t be a sucker!

 

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