Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Scams, scams, scams !!

This morning I got a phone call at my house phone from a lady who claimed to be from Malaysian High Court. She said I was suppose to attend the court and she questioned me why I did not sign the letter delivered to me twice, thus I will need to collect the letter myself from the court.

My initial reaction was wondering who could be the people who want to bring me to court since I paid all my bills. Failing to attend courts is no small matter and the initial reaction is of course worries.

But then even if somebody really want to deliver a court paper to me, registered mail would be the way to do it and I should get a notice if they can't get me to sign. The lady read out correctly my condo unit number and my name was correct, for a moment it sounds genuine.

However, her English accent is really suspicious and I have hard time trying to figure out what she was trying to say. She sonded like someone from China.

When I asked her what the letter is all about, she said she can check for me and asked me for my IC number. There is when I questioned her back and said "You called me, so you tell me! i am not going to give you not knowing who you are!". Then I asked her to give me a website or a number to call to find out myself. She gave me the number 03-62094000 and based on this number I google-ed and found that this is indeed a scam! Anyway, I called the number and found that the number is indeed belongs to Jalan Duta High Court, I chatted with the receptionist for a while and he told me there are indeed many such scam going on using the number.

Now I kind-of remember reading about such scam from the news. Only when you are actually in the situation, you will not realize how easy one can be cheated if one is not careful especially when they are targetting your fear that you may be in serious trouble if you do not find out what it is all about.

My first experience of such scam was more than 10 years ago in Penang, it was a scratch-and-win scam (of which you were supposed to give a deposit if you win huge prize) and the guy sounds so genuine. Thank God I refused to scratch somehow even though I did not know it was scam at that time.

My second experience was a hotel (supposingly) called me offering some free stays and package. That guy said he got my contacts from my credit card company. It sounded genuine enough until he asked me for my credit card number, then I told him right away that I will never give my credit card number to someone that I do not know.

And last year, there was this call telling me I won some prizes and the caller spoke with China's Mandarin accent. I just played along until she started asking for my IC number!

Whether it is scams via the phone, email or website, they have one thing in common, i.e. to target human's vulnerability of greed and fear.

The bottom line is:
  • To defend against being a victim of greed, just know this:
There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!
  • To defend against being a victim of fear is not so simple, just bear in mind that:
    • NO authorities will ask you for your IC number, contacts etc. IF they are the one who call/contact you. If they need these info, they would already have them.
    • NO system admin of any service providers/websites/emails will ever ask you for email password or password of any kind for verification. The fact is that in most reliable system, there is no way the system admin can retrieve your password to check against what you give them. If your password is having problem, normally they will do a reset for you and give you a new password (which you can change later).
    • NEVER key in your password at a website of which the link you obtained from a email !! Scammers may create webpages that look similar to other email or even bank websites to trick you from entering your password. Very often they even say they need to verify your password to prevent you being a victim of scam, but in actual fact they are the scam themselves! This is called Phishing ! My recommendation is to use Gmail which give reasonable protection against such emails.
So, beware of scams !

p.s. Stupid TM which can not protect our confidential information! Nobody other than my family members have my house phone number which is mainly used for Streamyx purpose (which is another stupid thing) !



At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your note.

I read it several times to remember and I appreciate your help in writing this to public.

I want to inform my parents too about scam where both my parents are old.

Once again, Thanks!


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Disclaimer: This is a personal blog, opinions expressed here do not represent the views of my employer!