Be careful with malicious links & text forwards

With the rise in internet usage, there’s multifold increase in cyber crimes. According to this article Cybercrime damages $6trillion by 2021.

In this post I want to share how I got exposed to online fraud and how I escaped from it.

First Time

In 2005 – 06, we had just started using internet and all had atleast 2-3 email ids.

One day I recieved a mail from someone who said he’s expert in Hacking and is looking for people to join his team. To prove that he’s an expert he would want to hack one of my friends’ email ids and share the password with me.

I got so excited and replied him, “Yes I’m interested”

He sent me another email asking for more details. It was a form with different fields,

QuestionsYour Answers
Your name
Your Email Id
Your Password
Email ID You want to hack
Your IP address (not compulsory)
Does your friend work for Govt

He was smart enough to ask all questions to make him look like a genuine guy.

What bothered me the most was – his request for my password to hack someone else’s password. What the hell !!

Since I was new to this experience I didn’t know if I should trust this guy. After thinking so much, I decided to give it a try.

I sincerely provided my email id and password and all other details he asked for.

After a day he replied back. “Hello my friend. Sorry, you have been fooled. I sneaked into your inbox and read all the mails. Be careful next time. Bye”

I got scared. I didn’t know what to do. I just got cheated so easily.

Again I thought myself – there’s nothing so important in my inbox. It was filled with wallpapers and movie trailers. Even if he had seen it, nothing will happen.

That gave me a sense of relief. I changed the password of my email id and nothing else happened.

Lesson – Don’t to share password with anyone, no matter what

Second Time

This was in 2008.

I received an email from a guy from Ivory coast seeking help in transferring his wealth to my account. Here’s the mail for your reference,

When I read that email I felt so bad for this person. His story looked genuine to me.

Back then, we were just entering into the new world of internet. I was not aware that there can be fraud people on internet. Internet is supposed to be place for sharing information right !!

This guy was more generous, he was willing to pay 15% of his wealth to me. I decided to help him.

For next few days there were email communications on getting to know each other. He asked about myself, background, interests etc. He also confirmed if I could handle so much money. I hesitatingly told yes to him.

I was worried. If he transfers all that money to my account, will the bank have enough storage space to keep that. Such a genuine concern, you see !!

After few days he emailed me asking for small amount of money for his legal expense.

That’s when I got doubt. If he has so much money, why is he begging for a small amount.

He started creating sense of urgency. If he doesn’t get money in next couple of days, all his wealth will be locked forever.

By then it was clear for me. He was a fake person sitting on other side of the internet.

I stopped replying to that email.

Lesson : Nobody gives money for free.

Third Time

This was in 2011. I got an email from a job consultancy saying my profile was shortlisted for a job in one of the India’s largest automobile manufacturer.

The email claimed that I was one of the very few who got shortlisted from Karnataka. They have enquired everything about me from the college and they even have my marks card. Recruiters were impressed by performance that they want to meet me in their Delhi office.

They have even arranged flight tickets (both ways) and a hotel to stay. All they need is my address proof and 10,000 Rs as a deposit. This amount will be reimbursed after attending the interview.

Everything looked genuine to me at first, except the Rs 10,000. Why would they want a confirmation in the form of money. This was not a business deal.

I had almost believed it.

Even if I lose, it is just 10,000 Rs. What if that was true ? What if actually company was recruiting.

Thankfully, by then I had made it a habit to verify facts with google.

I googled about it. I laughed at myself looking at the results. It was a fraud. There were hundreds of candidates who got cheated by the same message which I received.

Lesson – Always verify the facts. Don’t just believe whatever you receive as forward.

All these incidents taught very good lessons to me. I became more conscious in responding to such suspicious emails.