Okay, so the past few days I’ve had friends (non-related or know each other, the only thing they have in common is that they are all successful, happy people) report that someone had taken their identity and used it to communicate with their actual friends in their network. If this was done via social media, like on Facebook, I wouldn’t even be writing this post –because, let’s face it, that’s an everyday occurrence, right?
What makes this very unique in my opinion is that these fraudulent communications are being performed via SMS and actual phone calls… that’s right, they are able to spoof your phone number and make it look like you are either calling or sending people in your circle of friends & family text messages… let that sink in for a minute.
Coming from a strong tech background I can tell you that the idea of spoofing someone’s phone # isn’t anything new, but the twist that I’m seeing lately is that these perpetrators actually possess a little intelligence about the people they are spoofing, and that’s what makes it dangerous! Ironically, this morning I noticed a friend from church posted on Facebook that he was a victim of this happening to him so I shared it on my Facebook wall w/ a warning to my friends that this was happening…
Coincidentally, about an hour or so after I posted that status I received an email that was from Lisa Brown that asked, “How are you doing?”
Now, keep in mind that I have extremely tight spam protection on all of my email accounts, in fact I would estimate that I only receive one or two spam messages a week. I’ve invested a lot of time and money into this over the years, in fact I used to sell corporate email solutions. Ironically, this message made it through to my inbox, which tells me that there’s a good chance there’s an actual human sitting on the other end… especially since they are using Google’s Gmail product.
Now, here’s the thing, there’s nothing weird about getting a spam email, millions are sent and received every minute of the day. What makes this weird is what happened next… I received a text message from a number that I don’t know… it made it past my amazing PrivacyStar app too, so it’s a number that hasn’t likely been used for spam before (that’s my theory). I went onto Google the number and there wasn’t any intel on this particular number (also a good indicator that there was an actual person on the other end). The text message I received can be found below (notice the name is the same as before, except with the addition of another last name, apparently to lend legitimacy somehow, who knows?).
Now, here’s where it gets interesting… About a year ago I did some consulting on an infrastructure project (very briefly) between a Canadian based firm that was doing business with an influential South African business person. It turned out that I wasn’t a good fit, and I didn’t have the time or the motivation for the project so I passed… but isn’t it ironic this person knew that.. maybe, I might be reaching, but it makes for an interesting point.
I took the photo and did a reverse image search on it to verify my hunch that this was a scam and discovered this particular photo had been used to setup profiles on various social networks (why you shouldn’t friend hot chicks you don’t know on Facebook) and dating sites.
I wanted to share this coordinated effort to defraud with everyone today because 1) it’s a reality, and it’s happening every minute of your day, and 2) these things are getting more and more sophisticated, and 3) the more information you put out on the web the greater your chance of becoming a victim might be, so don’t play those Facebook survey games to find out “what 90’s performer are you?” or what’s your “80’s hip-hop name?” –the only person receiving value from those is the one that’s going to one day use it as bait to snare & impale you.
In closing, you probably noticed in the text message that I made reference to a booger on the back of the girls hand. Well, I did a little digging and this photo actually originated from a porno site called FTV, I wasn’t surprised by this, but when I zoomed in on the photo initially to see if it was photoshopped or anything I noticed something interesting on the back of her left hand, kinda looks like a booger… (see photo zoomed below), that’s why I’ve given this the unique hashtag #blondeboogerhand…
Please feel free to share w/ your friends…