Friday, October 10, 2008

Phishing, Phraud and Phun

On Phishing, Phraud and Phun
I’m sure, Dear Readers, that you’ve been a victim of the Nigerian idiot who has millions in his bank account in the name of either yours, or some Government official who has suffered some sudden demise. The claim is often the same; one only has to send some ‘administrative fee’ to ensure that vast amounts of money will descend upon your personal bank account in nano-seconds. This fraud is known by various monikers, including the ‘401 scam’. These usually refer to Nigerian individuals who have either been refused entry in the UK, or one of the many lunatic locals in Nigeria who believe that the average member of the human race who live on this planet will send their hard-earned crust to these people. Oh, and I forgot, that the UK police estimate that about 20% of the UK’s populace actually do this. Sorry, but the ones who have done this - you’re jerks.
The second scam involves ‘cashing cheques/checks which have been drawn on US banks and we have no US bank account’. I got involved with one ‘Mike’, who asked me to help him. Mike was a delightful person. Lived in Erith, Kent. Sold rare African paintings to US persons who had no UK bank account. Unfortunately for Mike, I worked at the Woolwich BS (no, Building Society) about a mile away, and I knew the address was false. I contacted one of the UK’s daily newspapers. To cut a long story short, I still have in my possession a banker’s draft for $6,250 made payable to me. It looks authentic. My US bank said it was OK. I placed the funds in one of the bank’s savings account, after alerting them to the fact that the money was probably fraudulent. The draft was sent to me by UPS. Mike called almost hourly on my cell phone to check on its progress. After six weeks, the bank informed me that the draft was fake, and that they would debit my account. Harrumph/Bugger. By now, Mike had disappeared into that quagmire that is ‘Internet Fraud’. The UK newspaper no longer wished to know about this. 123 points down on my credit report in the US. More Harrumph/Bugger.
Avid readers of my column (you must be out there somewhere, aren’t you?) will recollect that I had my UK Bank card rejected in Canada. I received a new card. Complete with ‘Chip and Pin’. This ‘Chip and Pin’ will eradicate even the most prolific of hackers, and ensure that my meagre funds are safe. That’s what the banks in the UK say.
Until I get to Tesco, that is. Tesco is to the UK what Winn Dixie/Publix is to Florida, but with prices that are twice as much – it’s a UK ‘thing’. I tried to get to use the new card at their ATM, but it failed. Now this should have rung warning bells. I later tried to pay for my groceries – veggies, juice, does anyone really want to know what I buy at grocery stores? If you do, get a life! Be that may, my card was ‘declined’. This is a universal word which attracts the attention of a ‘Manager’ within nano-seconds. Shouts of ‘Unclean’ comes to mind. One of my US bank cards does the trick. But it doesn’t have the ‘Chip and Pin’. Sharp intake of breath from all concerned, except me. It requires the Manager to verify my signature with HQ. Is this a fate worse than death, I question? My Florida driver’s license serves to probably ensure that I am a possible phraud. To bore you no more, I am let out with my groceries, feeling suitably humbled, along with some cretin in the line behind me who called me a ‘Bleedin’ American’. My retort that ‘we’ saved his ass during the war, almost started another war.
When I got home, I spoke to Gupta in Mumbai. I confused them all, as there is a Welsh only number that I can call. I now have yet another card on the way....... There’s lovely for you isn’t it.
I’m going to have a few brewskis with my son in the morrow. His birthday. I'm going to enjoy this over the phising and phraud! How I wish I was 37 again!