Monday, 25 October 2010

Congratulations, You have won a Jackpot!

The above message might be common enough to many people on this Earth!one often wonders whether money really grows on trees and whether it is, after all, possible to win a lottery draw. The message on your E-mail might read, “ Congratulations, you have won a jackpot of one million dollars”, or, “your mobile number has been selected as a winning entry for the sweepstakes 2010, kindly send your details such as age, bank account number…etc. to the e-mail id,"”

Gullible receivers of this message will no doubt be in for a rude shock when they realise they have been taken for a ride after having submitted a check for the purposes of verifying their signatures. Unfortunately there seems to be little that the authorities can do about reining in such swindlers! In India, a popular magazine keeps sending prospective subscribers documents pertaining to the entry of their names in the sweepstakes. The envelope is subscribed, Urgent, Sweepstake documents. The envelop contains a Business reply envelop and you have to return the documents, along with various stickers assuring you that you stand a chance to win a premium luxury vehicle along with the chance of winning a sweepstakes amount of Rs.100000/-!

Recently, I received a phone call informing me that I had won a Jack Pot of Rs.200000/- and the person at the other end told me to call a particular person on a particular number to claim my prize money. I never called back! I didn’t want to be taken for a ride! Unfortunately there are many who fall prey to such fraudulent attacks, and they reveal their credit card numbers, CVV numbers, and other sensitive personal information which makes them vulnerable.

The only solution to this problem is never to respond to suspicious messages, or unsolicited messages requesting for personal information. Many years back there was an African syndicate that used to send messages to the effect that the sender was an African whose father had stashed away a large amount of money before being killed during a change of regime. The message went on to state that the sender wanted to retrieve the loot and he wanted a bank account to park the money. Today, one is subject to numerous instances of cyber attacks, in the form of hacking. Phishing is in the form of unsolicited messages, which if opened, will lay open your computer to vicious hacking. Secret information in your computer is passed on to the sender of the suspicious message. Often your passwords, and t-pin numbers are laid open to the Hacker! The only defence is to have a good anti virus, and a good firewall. One should never click on a suspicious link, and one should always use a genuine Operating System. Always update your O.S. and your antivirus! Never do online transactions from a Cyber Cafe, and if you have to use a computer at a Cyber Cafe, then remember to clean up the Internet Explorer History. Remember to use a very strong password especially a mix of digits and letters. Use of nonsense words might be helpful! Remember, no one gives away money for free! The only money you win is the money you earn! Therefore, don’t be greedy, don’t go for easy money, no money is for free!

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