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“Watch this video or click this attachment…” – beware of con artists language

The Internet has proved to be a wonder. Every day there’s a new service, a new app, or a new trend that has the power to change the way...

The Internet has proved to be a wonder. Every day there’s a new service, a new app, or a new trend that has the power to change the way we live.  That’s what makes the web so revolutionary – it’s constant ability to evolve. 
It seems not a day goes by that we don’t read about some form of Internet fraud. Banks, video gaming networks – and email providers, to name a minority, have recently endured organised fraudulent activity. Con artists are always improving their tactics.

They look normal  
They may steal Facebook photos or photos from the many blogs and social network pages we all have.  They may even be impersonating someone of the opposite gender.  It is no longer easy to tell if someone is likely a scammer based solely on their photos. While photos are important, don’t entirely rely on them.  

More clever than ever
Someone you’re dating is not likely to ask for your bank account number, but you may end up in a conversation where your date asks what high school you went to – or where you were born, or your first pet’s name. Of course, this kind of information is what banking sites ask when you’ve forgotten your password. And if you’ve been emailing back and forth with that person, they have all the information they need to access your accounts.  Be on guard and don’t reveal too many personal details.

No longer in a hurry
One of the hallmarks of fraud used to be the big rush. Today’s con artists take their time. They may invest in hundreds of emails or calls. They may see you in person many times – and know that time puts people at ease. Many victims of fraud have cited “all our time together” as the reason they were willing to hand over personal information and money. Don’t let your guard down.

They are into social media
Yes, con artists have learned about social media. They know that people are vetting them in the social spaces and have responded accordingly. Watch out for the warning signs and don’t become complacent just because you found other information online.

They are excellent in “Phishing”
“Phishing” is the act of securing private information by appearing to be a trusted source and sending links that download personal information or install a damaging virus. A con artist will send you an email with a link and write, “Watch this video. It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.” One click of the link and passwords, credit card numbers and other personal data can be removed from your computer. This email can be sent on Facebook or email. Know what you’re clicking on before you do. 

Strange things
It seems hard to believe, but many acts of fraud have been committed because a con man has persuaded a user to let him/her log into their account. This usually happens after the con artist – and the victim has been in communication for a considerable period of time, and a certain amount of trust has been established. They may say: “I want you to see what I wrote in my profile. If you click on this link, it will take you to it, but you may have to log in first.” Never give your log-in credentials to anyone. 

Who is a potential con artist? 
They include a person who asks for money from you online. A person who asks for access to your online accounts – and someone who asks specific personal questions about where you bank, your address, pet’s names, school names, etc. – Online Sources  

Derick Matsengarwodzi is a communication consultant, author – and founder of The Aloe Media. An ardent researcher plus media devotee – you can interact with him through Facebook or Follow his authoritative, eloquent, analytical and revealing writing flow on: or

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