jueves, 27 de noviembre de 2014

49M of GBP or how to be scammed

A few weeks ago I received a linkedin message asking me if I would mind receive and manage 49 millions of GBP. Usually I ignore these emails, or just do a quick look to see what kind of new baits are being used to deceive those who are overconfident or too ambitious. In this case, however, I decided to see how the game evolved since the scammer had taken the effort to create a LinkedIn profile, make connections, wait some time and finally start the campaign to send mail. The initial mail was not particularly elaborate, since only asked if I was interested in working managing and investing the 49 billion pounds, and so, I should send an email to chang09e@gmail.com. Thus, the scammer could continue trading from Gmail once will disable his account of linkedin. As I said, I decided to answer and express my interest in the offer with the intention of seeing what technique was using the cheat. After a few hours I received the following response:

Thanks for your email. I'm Elizabeth Chang. You were contacted on behalf of Terry Wong former personal assistant to the former President of Taiwan Mr. Chen Shui-Bian on private matters. An investment was placed under his care 5 Years ago, He need assistance in investing this funds into good use. So I would want to know if you're willing to assist him if so I would provide you with more details on the matter.
Best regards

Once I responded to this mail requesting additional details about this great opportunity, this is the answer that I received:
Thanks for your response and request for more details. The information contained therein is not to be disclosed due to the sensitive nature. It is for your knowledge only. Mr. Chen Shui-bian is in a difficult predicament with the Taiwan Government because of his role in politics and the ruling government has sworn to ruin him because he sponsored a major party against the ruling government with his Influence.
However, let me give you some basic details.
Firstly, you must know that this transaction consist of changing the rights of the funds in question to your ownership and afterwards transferring same to you for immediate management/investment in long term profit investment.
Secondly, it is imperative that the most valuable criteria to qualify you for this transaction is on the basis that you are practically, financially and technically qualified to handle and manage such an amount of money. That is not negotiable. This is because of the basic requirements and confidentiality agreement I signed with Mr Chen Shui-bian.
This is a brief on the Placement:
Value of funds: £49 MILLION GBP.
Client's Full Name: MR. CHEN SHUI-BIAN.
I have been directly contacted as a confidential secretary by Mr Chen Shui-bian to recruit a foreign partner under whose identity the funds will be transferred. For your benefit of doubt, the objectives are to change the entire identity of the funds to your ownership as the beneficiary. The funds will be transferred to you ASAP. My duty is to ensure that the beneficiary documents for this transaction is by all means satisfied and within the ambit of local/international laws. I am entirely responsible for the facilitating of the beneficiary documents that will put you in place as the beneficiary of the funds. Thereafter, you will therefore be legally qualified to receive the funds into your business/personal bank account for investment and management purposes only.
Consequently, we may commence without delay once we have been able to secure your trust and partnership. The funds will be ready for transfer to you as soon as we have established a reasonable degree of trust with each other once you have satisfied the basic qualification requirements. Mr Chen Shui-bian demand utmost confidentiality as regards his involvement with the funds in question. If you agree to partner with Mr Chen Shui-Bian, he will compensate you with 20% of the total sum for your role as the beneficiary partner to the funds and the balance 80% will be invested on behalf of my client by you.
Nonetheless, in order to commence the re-direction of the funds to you, we will require that you submit the following information listed below:
Have You In Your Entire Life Handle Funds Worth One Million GBP Before?
What Is Your Annual Turnover?
Will You Be Able To Travel Outside Your Country If Need Be?
Full Names:
Office Phone No:
Mobile Phone No:
Scanned copy of your ID either international passport or drivers license.
The above information will enable us to determine your qualification for receivership and subsequent placement of the funds to you. The data will also be used in the drafting and preparation of all the vital paper documentations in your particulars before the funds can be transferred you in liquid cash.
As it stands out, these are the briefs of this proposal. I will be sending you a "Consultant Non-Disclosure Agreement" for you to read carefully and sign as soon as I receive the above information's.
You can ring me on my private telephone number indicated below for comprehensive verbal communication and explanations.
I await your email and response.
After receiving this response I couldn’t avoid thinking, there are people who really can believe all this and take the bait? But of course the answer is yes if you send it to enough people.
The mail uses some very basic tricks like indicate that you can contact by phone at the number listed to give an impression of confidence. But of course, there aren’t any phone number indicated in the mail.
After answering sending dummy data I received the following email in response:
Thanks so much for your email. I would need you to forward this informations to Mr. Terry ( terrysaitakw@gmail.com ) he would provide you with every other information you require to get the funds. Thanks once again.
This was new to me and made no sense. Why should I send the data to a new gmail account? I can think of the following reasons:
  1. There really is more than one person behind the hoax and have divided the task, dealing with the first initial contact and then moving the contact to the ‘second level support to fraud’. It seems unlikely.
  2. Another trick to build confidence in the victim who is perceived to be dealing with an organization. This hypothesis seems the most likely for me.
Anyway, I did the forward to this Mr. Terry and this was his answer:
Now I am certain that you are willing to give the required assistance. Let me reiterate here that I seek an assistance from you that will benefit us immensely that is why I am sending you more information to enable you have an in-depth and total understanding of this transaction before we commence.
I want you to understand that we are only going to deal with each other in this transaction as you already know Mr. Chen Shui-Bian is jail. By this I mean, this transaction is confidential between me and you. This is so because of the present circumstances surrounding the owner of the funds Mr. Chen Shui-Bian. And as such, I expect that we keep every dealing entirely confidential between us.
Find enclosed with this message, a Non-Disclosure Agreement between my humble self and you. You are advice to download, print out read and sign the agreement.
As soon as you send back the signed agreement, I will begin the process of securing the beneficiary documents in your names.
I will be expecting the signed agreement, please send back signed page via email attachment.
After receiving this email I thought I had the chain here. I thought the PDF included a malware and this was the method by which the scammer monetized the campaign. But no, the PDF was clean and simply simulating a real NDA. A new trick to seems a reliable opportunity. So I returned it ' signed ' and this was the next mail I received:
Thanks for the signed agreement, I am glad that we have reached an agreement and this gives me a big sign of confidence in you, I am obliged to give you some useful information's that you alone would be privy to and you alone I insist. I had to reach out to Mr. Chen Shui-bian personally over some issues and get certain facts straight. As you know Mr. Chen Shui-bian and his family are in difficult predicament with the Taiwanese Government. Firstly, you must acknowledge that this transaction is a deal and it has to be treated as such and every information's from you and I must be kept confidential, you must not communicate the origin of this transaction to any third party, I am only trying to assist a friend to relocate his funds valued £49 MILLION from the present location without Taiwanese Government awareness because of his political problem. Secondly, you must understand that the £49 MILLION is NOT directly in my possession; it is currently deposited in the name of an existing legal entity and Mr. Chen Shui-bian cannot directly access the funds because of his present political predicament otherwise the Taiwanese Government will also confiscate the funds and that is why he privately seek your assistance to help him move the funds from the present location for investment in your country. I am assisting him in my own private capacity to help him move the funds from the present location and the Government is not aware of my assistance to him. The £49M in question is presently deposited as a secured vault deposit with a Private security Bank in London, United Kingdom where some top government officials and politicians keep their money while they are in public office for security and confidential reasons. A vault deposit is not like a regular bank account because a regular bank account can be traced and investigated easily and could put my client into serious trouble or even death penalty in Taiwan because it is forbidden for top government officials to hold such bank account. I do not need to emphasize this point. As soon as I secured the beneficiary documents that will empower you to the deposit, I have forward your information to Mr. Chen attorney to draft the necessary beneficiary documents in your favor; I will be sending you copies when they are ready on after i obtain it for your safe keeping. Kindly acknowledge the receipt of this email.
I love the part of “this gives me a big sign of confidence in you”. J
And at least, after answering the mail I received a mail asking me to send money so I could access to the 49 GBP of Mr. Chen.
Thank you for your email, I called the mobile number you provided but I can seem to be able to reach you. I am still battling to get the change of beneficiary from Mr. Chen's lawyer because he is requesting for 5,640 pounds to get the documents and I told you prior to this that you will be responsible for all administrative and lawyer's charges which includes Mr. Chen's lawyer because all eyes and the Government are still monitoring our moves in that regime so please try and understand the situation i am in now and to let you know that Mr. Chen's family are in serious financial predicament so that is why we want to repatriate the fund and use it for a good purpose to generate fund for their well being so let me hear from you regarding the payment for the lawyer so that i can furnish you with the account details. CHINA MERCHANTS BANK (SHENZHEN SUNGANG SUB -BRANCH)SWIFT: CMBCCNBSXXXADD: No 828 international trade bldg , baoanbei road louohu shenzhen china.ACCOUNT NO: 6225 8878 3037 9612NAME: LIANG MING DEBest regards
In conclusion, social engineering methods used in these scams don’t evolve , are still using the Nigerian scam without taken care of the appearance of the emails and based on SPAM (in this case via linkedin) to attract potential victims. But they do not need to invest more efforts in this type of campaign since it still works and with a minimum investment they can win a lot of money from their victims.

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