A virus is an infectious agent that replicates in the cells of a living susceptible host. This definition encompasses a plethora of pernicious agents from the HINI flu virus to the viruses in our technology that attack the unsuspecting target. I hope to create awareness and knowledge that may offer some defense from these invading parasites.
In this article I am sharing what I have learned, first hand, about internet computer scams as there maybe another that may benefit from my experience. It is perhaps not the philosophical rant that I am usually inspired to write but I have paid thousands for this wisdom…so it is mine to share.
Parasites and Viruses are such nasty words…wait! allow me to call them learning opportunities as they do challenge us to understand the world from a different angle. In any challenge we can choose to be a victim or valor, and it is not what happens to us but what we do with it that defines our perspective.
Internet fraud can come in many forms.
1. The investment fraud has been made popular recently with the latest Ponzi schemes of our newsworthy wealthy investors. I thought I was contributing to an off shore oil company, sending cash investments that promised great rewards but not only have there been no returns on the investment, but the initial investment capital had disappeared along with the companies contact numbers and e-mails.
2. Fraudulent representation of a person, service, product or charity. A ‘pastor’ ordering $5000 worth of service or product on a stolen credit card asking to send cash for a delivery service is one example, or another example is offering to sell a vehicle for $10,000 but requesting money be sent to a trust account. Even donations to an apparent church charity in which a receipt is never granted are within the scope of our infecting agents.
3. Dating sites are places to find a host with a weakened immune system. The “Love Bug’s” bite hurts. Men and women sharing love words, money, webcams, indecent photos and identities are the pillars for a large underground business.
4. Traditional computer spammers and hackers have evolved. The advice I used to receive was not to open an attachment from any one I did not know. But now these spammers can attach to an e-mail address, manipulate a message and infiltrate the contact list of an address you do recognize! Spammers typically offer any number of illegitimate websites where you can purchase products with amazing deals if ,of course, you send cash in a money order or wire.
5. Have you had a virus in your computer and magically a solution of anti-viral program arrives to your inbox or as a pop-up screen? It is not a coincidence…those that planted the virus are now trying to sell you the software to handle it.
6. There are a host of other miscellaneous items that include “work-at-home” schemes, lottery winners and inheritance granting that could fill up a few pages. The wikipedia- internet fraud site at the end of this article offers many other examples and FBI reporting links for your information.
My first thought, after catching a few of these flu bugs, was to understand how I could be so naive and trusting. My second thought is to try to understand what motivates a person to behave in a fraudulent way, to deliberately seek to take advantage of another? Are they alone or part of a larger conglomerate? Maybe it is an illusion of sharing the target’s wealth? In the case of third world country scammer, this may be a truth and scamming must be a good source of income. Perhaps the fraudster sees the host as obtuse and thinks, “well if they are stupid enough to believe me then I should take their money”? Is it greed or selfish desire for more money or is the motivation to feed a family or impress a boss? I call it motivation because I do feel it is a behaviour driven by a force or fear outside themselves. A virus needs a host in order to survive but a host needs a virus to gain strength and wisdom. If only fraudsters could be granted the tools to survive on their own and experience the inspiration and true power that is birthed from a womb of fair exchange, this would change the world.
If wisdom is as Confucius states experience and reflection, then I am growing wise.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_fraud provides information and external reporting links.