Text message and telephone aid scams

Published: 2008-05-19
Last Updated: 2008-05-19 14:45:21 UTC
by Maarten Van Horenbeeck (Version: 1)
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Jim recently wrote a diary on the various scams related to Myanmar's cyclone and the Sichuan earthquake.

Usually, these scams take place by means of web sites which accept funds through Paypal or sometimes even wire transfers. However, as with all types of unsollicited messages, these were bound to move to other media as well.

Earlier today we received interesting reports from China of text messages (SMS) being distributed which request the reader to transfer money to a certain account number, or even just reply to the message to help fund relief to the Sichuan earthqake. In addition, late last week reports appeared of a message which invited readers to help the Red Cross fight "poverty and suffering" by making a call, or sending a text message.

While one would expect more physical acts, such as sending text messages or calling a number allow better identification of the culprits than more obscure credit card number theft and distribution,  this is often not the case. While the owner of a number may easily be identified in many cases, it is often just the company providing a service for another third party. The latter may have used fake For-a-fee telephone numbers, both for call and SMS are often purchased through service providers, which may require less stringent verification of their clients than the actual phone network.

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