Judy Colella, a friend, and author of The Overcomer, decided to analyze the scams we all are running into too frequently even in our private emails. The ones on a site she and I frequent have had their share of the Phishers. I asked, and she has allowed the sharing of dissection ~ well worth the read.
I know many of you are savvy about the multitude of phishing scams out there, but I know there are also many of you who haven't encountered enough of them to recognize one as soon as you see it. Today, I got this in my email and thought, "Wow, this almost looks legitimate, and could easily frightening someone into contacting them." So I thought I'd post it here for you and take it apart, so anyone who is unfamiliar with how these awful people get into our personal information by sending these things over the internet can spot them right away:
"Dear Debtor," - Okay, any legitimate company to which I owe money would have addressed me by my name and title, not merely as "Debtor." That's the first red flag. These people who sent this obviously have no idea who I am, or they would have at least used my first name. In addition, there would have been an actual account name, number, and the name of the company seeking payment. But not here. Nope. Just that anonymous "Dear Debtor" thing.
All right - next:
"You are several payments behind on the payday advance provided to you at the time of your need." What? I never took a payday advance from anyone, ever! But there are people who do take cash advances from local pay advance and cash checking places who might think, "Uh-oh...I thought I paid that back. Maybe I didn't," and will contact the sender of this email. At that point, they know your email address is legitimate and will use it to plant a virus, or maybe add you to an email list they're compiling for another company, or even to engage you directly in order to convince you to send them money you don't owe, or even carry out an identity-theft scam. So let's look at this sentence and see if there are any red flags. "You are several payments behind..." Er, no. A real company would give you an amount, the date it was due, the late-payment fee if applicable, etc. In other words, DETAILS. This had no details at all, just a vague reference to "several payments." Well, gee, how many do they mean by "several?" And what's this nonsense about "at the time of your need"? What need? I've never had such a moment in which I needed to borrow money from some company that has no name, in an unknown amount. Hmmm.
Here's where they try to scare you into contacting them:
"The case file will be downloaded on Friday (April 17th,2015) and you will be soon served with the court papers due to non-payment after so many reminders. If you want to avoid these legal consequences, we merely require you to get back to our manager Lisa White with the payment." Yeah, this part is an absolute treasure trove of red flags. "The case file." Right. What case file? Is there a case file number? If I contact these jerks, how will they know which case it is without a number? And "downloaded" - where? Where will it be downloaded? Youtube? A computer on the far-flung Isles of Langerhans? A mythical clerk's office in another dimension? Come on! Then they give you the date "April 17th,2015" even though it should be written; April 17, 2015 (notice there's no "th" and there's a space between the comma and the year). I worked for lawyers for decades, and can tell you that when a date for legal action is given in a written instrument, it isn't in by-the-way parenthesis. A lawyer, or even a legal advisor, who writes these kinds of letters for honest businesses would have said, "...this Friday, April 17th." That's it. I mean, if you don't know what year it is, owing a debt is the least of your problems.
The next part of the sentence, "...and you will soon be served with the court papers..." makes even less sense. Soon? How soon? Where are the details required by full disclosure laws? Besides, when you get served, it's by a Process Server, and they never warn you when - or that - they're coming. Why? So you don't run away! Hey, people do that. And hold on, folks - "the court papers"?! What are "court papers"? Dude! There is no such thing. When someone is being sued for an unpaid debt, they're given notice through a lawyer, not the court. The court is only there to hear the case, not serve papers of any kind - at all - in the case. Good grief!
Then they say, "If you want to avoid these legal consequences..." WHAT legal consequences? The downloading of a mythical file in some undisclosed location? That's not a legal consequence. " Service of non-existent documents from... where? Maybe on the planet Vexnox they have courts that do that, but not on Earth. Sheesh.
The last part of the final sentence in that ridiculous paragraph tells you that they "merely require you to get back to our manager Lisa White with the payment." - Holy cow! Again, this is NOT the way a collection agency requests payment of a debt. By the way, the name "Lisa White" is a link embedded in the email, and I guarantee if you click on it, you'll have consequences for sure, which I mentioned earlier.
Then they add this gem, in case you didn't click on the doubtful Ms. White's link already:
"NOTE: Please contact our manager Lisa White.You will further communicate with her regarding your outstanding amount and payment mode." - There it is: the big sting. They want you to contact them so you can work out your "payment mode." In other words, they want your banking info or credit card number. DING! DING! DING! Identity theft attempt at its finest!
Desperate buggers that they are, they give you ol' Lisa's email address, too, in case you aren't sure about that link thing:
Lisa White Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
So now they do themselves a real disservice, because the last line, as you can see, gives you their company name:
Advance Cash Services
Anyone with an IQ higher than that of a breath mint will know to open a new window, put "Advance Cash Services" in the Search bar, and see what comes up. Well, I did, and here it is:
Yup. It's a scam alright, and a really nasty one (you can click on that link - it's the State of Washington's Department of Financial Institutions).
So there you have it. Just one example of the kind of phishing scam being perpetrated on the American public by scum who are trying to cash in on our hard-earned income. There are other kinds, but I think most of us have seen the ones I'm talking about right here on BookRix - the ones that ask us to contact them via email, and call us "Dearest friend" and other cutesy terms even though we don't know them.
Thanks for reading this - I hope it helps!
Thank you, Judy for letting me share this with The Booktrap audience.
Anyone wishing to seek out Judy Colella, here is the link to her Amazon page