Thursday, September 3, 2009

Upsurge in E-Mail Identity Theft Scams

source: Republic of Botswana (23/8/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 23 of 2009
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"


The Office of the Minister for Defence, Justice and Security wishes to remind members of the public of the need to protect themselves from the continued existence of various e-mails scams that prey on unsuspecting individuals.

In particular we wish to warn members of the public of a recent upsurge in local reports of scams that involve criminals hacking into other people's e-mails accounts in order to steal their contacts and falsely assume their e-mail address identities.

Such criminals are then known masquerade as the individuals whose accounts they have broken into in order to send electronic messages to others with whom the individual has been in contact, in order to solicit funds.

A common scam is for the criminals to approach victims as a friend or acquaintance who has been robbed of their money, passport and cell phone etc. while travelling in another country, often Nigeria. The false e-mail goes on to ask the recipient to please wire money.

Victims have been known to fall for such impostor scams as the messages appear to be from, often prominent, people and e-mail addresses they know.

To reiterate, while this type of scam has existed for some time, there has recently been an upsurge in reports of its local existence.

Given the above, the Office of the Minister for Defence, Justice and Security once more advises the public to avoid forwarding any funds solicited via unexpected e-mails unless both the identity of the sender and supposed circumstance have been absolutely verified.

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