Have you ever received a phone call from someone claiming to be ‘Engineer Okafor’ from NNPC in Nigeria?
He first goes by asking about your family life, then proceeds to ask if you are still with a firm you have worked at or currently working at. He sounds so familiar with your background that you are almost convinced that he must be some bosom friend that you may have forgotten.
Then he goes on to tell you about a lucrative deal that he has going on at your location in Nigeria but he is somewhere in the creeks of the Niger Delta and will unfortunately not be able to meet up with an important appointment concerning the lucrative deal.
To this end, he proposes that you represent him.
He mentions that his partners who are white men are flying down to your location with a chopper and he would like for you to meet them and conclude the deal on his behalf.
As you are trying to put it all together, at that moment he says you should call him back if you are interested and hangs up. If you call, he eventually tells you to pay one bill or the other to facilitate the deal.
Believe me, it’s nothing but scam.
However, the question is how did Mr Engineer Okafor get to know so much about you?
Give it a thought.
I have received numerous enquiries from clients and prospects on how they can protect their identity on the internet as they embark on their online marketing journey.
Also, I noticed that the fear of identity theft and online scam was regularly being raised by prospects and thus decided to write this article on how you can prevent being a victim.
Information on Your Social Media Accounts
Scammers scan through social media profiles of people and gather as much information about them as possible. For those that block their profile from public view, the scammers don’t leave them out.
They send them friend request and may eventually get access to some of their information if their request is accepted.
How you can limit this
Avoid the display of too much personal information on social media. Also, change your privacy setting to restrict your information to only people who are your friends or followers.
Take time out to screen people whom you don’t know but you receive friend request from. Check their wall or profiles to ascertain the age of their account, check their profile to see if they have previous post or pictures.
If they don’t have post on their wall or handle, this is a red flag, as this account may have just been created for scam.
Most scammers create multiple accounts with only one profile picture and a cover picture. Also they seldom post to their walls or handles on social media.
Getting Information through your email address
This is possibly the most dangerous of them scammers; they get your email through leaks or harvesting through search engines using email extracting software. To learn how this is done, please read this post How Do Spammers get your email address.
When they get your email, they begin to send you spam emails with the objective that you will either click on a link or a picture in the email.
If you click on a link in a spam email, either a Trojan program is installed on your computer which they use to steal information stored on your computer or a link will open with a form asking you to fill information about yourself.?
What to do
For entrepreneurs with business websites, avoid displaying emails on your website because emails displayed on websites can come up on search engines when a search is performed.
When you get emails that are from sources that you do not know or you are suspicious of, do not click on any link or picture within the mail. Better still, move the email to trash if it is overtly suspicious.
While there is no know security measure that can totally prevent scammers from obtaining your information on the internet. You can limit what scammers achieve with any information that they lay their hands on and prevent being a victim of online scam.
I would like to know if you know of any other ways that scammers can get our information and possible prevention.
Please share this post you never know who may need it.
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