FAKE PAYMENT SMS & EMAIL CONFIRMATION
Fake payment sms & email confirmation scam has become widespread. This scam is mainly targeted at people who sell online or advertise their goods across the internet. However this scam is not only limited to online trade.
Basically the scammers will be interested in whatever is being sold online via a selling website like www.gumtree.co.za, www.junkmail.co.za and many more. They then contact the seller and pretend to be buying. An agreement will be made for the buyer to pay the agreed amount which he/she promises to pay immediately over the internet.
The seller will then receive a confirmation of payment sms or email depending on their banking settings. The confirmation will reflect the buyers name (normally fake). Scammers are crafty and determined so much that the fake notification will show that the payment is going to the sellers given name on the account, and it will also have a reference number together with their banks name. To top it up they will also include the last 4-5 digits of the sellers bank account and a Help Line number.
Prior to the fake payment. The buyer has already arranged for somebody to collect the purchase. The courier is normally a random person that the scammer uses to hide their own identity and location.
Smart or cautious people will normally log into their online banking apps or bank's website to verify the payment, and also call their bank to make sure that the money does indeed reflect.
However before even checking with the bank. It is also important to check for the origins of the sms or email. It is important to save yours bank's sms notices number or know it off by heart if you are able to do so.
Receiving money always triggers some excitement and one may temporarily drop their guard. Scammers need that lapse in judgement or distraction to strike. The sms may be from an ordinary cellular number or from an online sms service and both will not correspond with your banks sms notifications. ITS A SCAM!!!
In the case of a email notification the scammers will create some fictitious email from a free email service from the many available online and mask it with your own bank's name to make it look authentic. It may come as firstname.lastname@example.org... However, banking email domains are only available to authorized staff. The seller must scrutinize the email address, as the real email address is normally hidden behind the senders visible email address.
All the seller needs to do is to click reply on the email and the real email address will show on the draft email and have nothing to do with any bank. The seller can also move their computer cursor or fingers on the mobile screen, right over the senders name or address and a small pop up will revel the masked address. ITS A SCAM!!!
There is another clever trick that scammers use to fool sellers online. They used stolen cheque books to make payments, and normally it takes 7 workings days for a cheque to be cleared for payment by the bank. The irony here is that the buyer will be in a hurry and impatient for his/her courier to collect the goods, but also wanting the seller to wait for 7 days for payment. Then the seller also needs to be extra careful and hold onto their property until payment is confirmed by the bank.
Some eft payments may come through reputable overseas payments options, however this are not always 100% safe. The seller might be registered on some of platforms for purchases and payments. Receiving funds as opposed to sending funds is not always instant. The sellers are therefore advised to wait for the money to reflect on their bank balances. Sometimes the buyers might be using stolen cheques or credit cards.
The courier as already stated is normally somebody the scammers just use for scamming people. It is a normally a random person with means of transport to collect & deliver the goods.
If a seller does not take any of the above precautions. Then they will hand over the goods to the courier and that is where they goods disappear for good. Remember that every scammer likes to keep his/her identity hidden. The Scammers might be a few streets away from the seller, but the always pretend to be far.
When the seller realizes that the he/she has been scammed. It is normally too late as the scammer will simply get rid of the phone he/she used to contact the seller. Authorities may be able to trace the courier, but this is as far as it goes as the goods may have been delivered in the street to an unknown person who simply paid for the delivery.
Police resources are already stretched and their best efforts may not be helpful especially when the seller decided to be relaxed and reckless. In any event do report all fraudulent activity as this helps the authorities in arresting perpetrators and warning the public.
THERE IS NOTHING LIKE BEING TOO CAREFUL. ALWAYS DOUBLE, TRIPLE, QUADRUPLE... CHECK!!!!