Thursday, 29 April 2010

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Yet more scams this week, all of which have come in from Voice readers who have been alerted by previous warnings they’ve read here. Luckily they have all been suspicious enough not to part with any money but who knows how many other people are out there who haven’t been so skeptical.

Another job scam

I met a friend on the net and she told me she works for “Community Health Global Network” and she can help me to find work. But now I am a bit scared. Part of me tells me to try my luck and the other is saying No. Please, help! Maybe I am falling into a Job Offer Scam.

He sent us an email this “friend” had sent him:
“With Job Application reference number :01/CHGN-045/07562 and having received a forwarded confirmation mail from Becky Brown regarding your Application, and I do hope you are aware of the respective requirement. However you would receive our on-line Application Form to be printed filled and signed by you with a Passport photograph. In addition, single application and processing cost the sum of €250 Euro only. This keeps us within the requirements for the Federal Laws in the United Kingdom and avoids us being investigated for money laundering.”
It went on:
“Be inform that the organisation is responsible for your Non immigrants Visa, flight tickets, accommodation, and feeding during the six months training program there in the United Kingdom. Prospective Applicant going for the 6 months Job training receives a stipend of £1500GBP Monthly during their 6 months stay in UK the Job training and recruitment.”
OK, here goes. The first clue in all scams is the language. Almost all scammers have poor English. Then there are the practical and factual mistakes that people can be excused for not noticing. For instance there are no “Federal Laws” in the UK and the currency in the UK is the Pound, not the Euro.

Then there are some other common clues. The “Community Health Global Network” is a real organisation based in London so it’s strange that later in the email they give an address and phone number in Senegal, don’t you think? Particularly as the phone number doesn’t work. Yet again, these scammers use a free email address rather than one that seems to relate to the organisation they claim to represent.

Clearly this isn’t the first time this organisation has been used as a cover story for scammers. If you visit the Community Health Global Network web site there’s a big warning saying:
“Email scams. Please take care. If you receive suspicious mail – check with us first.”
Finally, there is the simple incredibility of the story. Legitimate organisations simply don’t operate by giving lots of money to total strangers they meet on the internet. Real recruitment companies don’t go around offering employment to people they haven’t met, interviewed or assessed. Real companies that hire people don’t demand cash up front, payable by Western Union (yes, it’s them again).

If you encounter any of these situations make sure you get in touch with us but, most importantly, don’t ever give such people your money. Ever.

Au pair scam

Last week we reported on a reader who had registered with an online au pair web site and had subsequently received an offer of a job looking after a child in the USA. All she had to do was pay $929 to a recruitment agency. We exposed how this was a scam.

Shortly afterwards she received an almost identical email from another scammer, this time claiming to be a doctor who again offered ridiculous amount of money, this time $2,500 every 2 weeks. Of course this was another scam but it raises questions about the web site she was using to get an au pair job. Be suspicious!

Traditional “419” scam

Just to show that the old scams are still there we heard from a reader who received this (spelling mistakes not corrected!):
“Dear Winner,
This is to Inform you that we have been waiting to hear from you in regards to the draft of £1,100, 000, 00 which you won from the United Kingdom Microsoft Million Online Award but you did not reply all our emails. Well we have deposited your Draft with HSBC BANK here in United Kingdom. Cantact MR.FRANK ADAMS below and provide him with this registration number PC0124475BN this Registration Number must be known by you alone for security reasons.
The registration number should be sent to:
MR.FRANK ADAMS< Tel: +44-703-174-6383 Fax: +44-7005-931-174”
All the same old clues are there that you can see for yourself. How many can you spot? Start with the spelling mistakes, bad grammar, free email addresses and cellphone numbers and the sheer silliness of the whole thing?

Money from Microsoft?

No, in case you’re wondering, the email you received (from a free Hotmail account) claiming to speak on behalf of “YAHOO AWARDS & WINDOWS LIVE.YAHOO/GMAIL” announcing that you have won £420,000, is not genuine. Sorry!

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