Saturday, 6 April 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Have I been hacked?

I received an email saying that my account had been infected. It said that a hacker had exploited my email and had developed a virus that tracked pornographic web sites I visited and it says that they have videos of me watching pornography and of the sites it says I visited but this isn’t true, I haven’t visited those sites.

They say that I must send them $1,000 by Bitcoins and if I don’t they will send the videofile to all of my contacts including relatives and coworkers. What must I do?

What should you do? Absolutely nothing. I really mean that. Do nothing.

This is a scam, it’s not real. No hacker has infected your “account”, nobody has video recordings of you visiting pornographic web sites (the ones you didn’t actually visit), nobody is going to reveal anything to your relatives and co-workers because there’s nothing to reveal. This is just about extorting money from you. You can also be certain that if you did pay them the $1,000 they’re trying to blackmail from you, they would just continue to demand more and more from you until either you realised it was a scam or you ran out of money.

If it helps to reassure you, you should know that we also received exactly the same email as have many other people. These scammers rely on finding victims that have been viewing pornography online and have a guilty conscience about it. My advice is just to delete the email and do the same to any others like it that you might receive.

Meanwhile, this is perhaps a very good opportunity to make sure your computer is fully protected. Whatever operating system you use, turn on your firewall, make sure you install all the updates your computer suggests and install an antivirus package and then keep it up-to-date. And finally, be very careful what web sites you visit!

Have I won a tender?

I received an email below from a person who apparently works at PPADB.

This is my first time to receive such an email from "PPADB" with regards to tenders but I have a suspicion this email is not legitimate. The email doesn't seem to be genuine nor does the toll free number seem correct. There are 2 attachments and one of them has CONFIDENTIAL as a watermark.

Do you know of any other companies who have received emails claiming to be from PPADB?

Yes, I certainly DO know of other companies who have received emails like this apparently from PPADB. I’ve even received one myself.

This is another scam. The documents you were sent are certainly quite convincing until you look closely. Only then will you notice that the email address they give ends with “” whereas the real PPADB domain is “”. The bogus domain they’re using was only registered in June last year seemingly to someone in South Africa. It’s certainly not the real PPADB.

Based on the conversations I’ve had with people who have previously received emails like this, the way this scam will work is simple but clever. The documents they send give contact details for a supplies company in South Africa that they say will supply you with the goods they claim PPADB requires. But this fake company is part of the scam as well. Once you get in touch, they’ll do their best to seem like a legitimate company and will offer you the goods that PAPDB want but they’ll demand a deposit before they can ship them.

That’s what the scam is all about, that deposit you pay them. Rest assured that you will never see the goods or the deposit again.

This scam is so common that various government agencies, including PPADB has issued warnings to people stating that it’s a scam and that people who not respond to any tender requests until they’ve spoken to the procuring entity first to ensure that it’s genuine.

Please don’t be like the person I spoke to a few months ago who sent these scammers a deposit of P180,000, thinking they were going to get rich from a government tender. They’re now quite the opposite: poorer, sadder and deeply ashamed of their naivete.

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