A Case of Fraud [telecom]

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I got a phone call on Saturday, informing me that someone I know had
been defrauded: she had answered an email from her boss, and followed
instructions, and had lost five-hundred dollars.

The email she received had asked her to go buy a lot of gift cards and
to charge it to her own credit card. She did that. Then, when she
emailed back, she got another email telling her to scan the serial
numberd off the backs of the cards and to send the scans, via email,
immediately. At that point, she contacted her boss directly, and found
out that she'd been tricked: he hadn't sent the email.

I know this woman: she's as level-headed a person as you'll find
anywhere. She raised a family, dealt with all the drama of having five
children, and held down various jobs while her husband slogged through
a federal civil-service job and made it to a pension. She is the
probably the last person in the world I would expect to fall for an
email scam.

If there's a moral to this story, it's that checking emails and
verifying the id of a correspondent is better done late than never:
although she paid $500 for the gift cards, she never sent the serial
numbers, and now the company (no doubt dealing with hundreds of such
scams) has cancelled the cards and promised her a refund.

But the lesson remains: it can happen to anyone.  


Bill Horne
(Remove QRM from my email address to write to me directly)

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