Man, just when I thought I’d seen it all, 419-scammers seem to have caught on to the fact that most spam filters now simply destroy their mail without people even seeing it. Thus preventing them from ever reaching potential gullible victims. They found a way around it, ellegant and scary in it’s simplicity.
I just received an SMS that read: “Please contact Doctor Kelvin firstname.lastname@example.org for your prize of 7500000 pounds” . The number, a +44 is the correct country code for the UK (I had it wrong earlier, corrected now) – don’t be fooled by this.
Yep, the classic lotto prize 419, in an SMS – the interesting thing is that they obviously realized short messages like in SMS is not sufficient to pull a full scam, so they just put the bait there, then lure you to mail them – if you do, of course, it’s business as usual for one of the most effective criminal syndicate systems we’ve faced.
This shows a classic problem with security systems – technology convergence. In the beginning they kept beating spam filters by simply spamming better, now that this is becoming hard as we are getting good at picking up the consistent messages they need, they are targeting using a completely unfiltered technology, and thus leading you into the conversation. Almost no spam filter in the world will pick a message as spam if it’s a reply to one you sent.
It’s very wrong, but it’s very clever. So this post is a warning to those who read it. I am sure I wasn’t targeted for the SMS. These people almost certainly invested in bulk sms packages and are sms’ing large numbers of people in bulk at overseas rates. A much more expensive proposition than mass mailing, but they must believe the payoff is worth it. So when you get your 419 SMS – ignore it, or contact the cops, whatever you do -don’t mail the address in it.