Helpdesk Scam

If you or your company has a helpdesk you should understand that they don’t need to know your password. Ever. So if you receive an email asking for your login and password you should immediately suspect that it could be a scam.

The following email is a scam. It’s made to look like a serious IT request but it’s really a trick to get your account details.

Help Desk

Attention Account User,

Scheduled Maintenance & Upgrade

Your account is in the process of being upgraded to a newest of Windows-based servers and an enhanced online email interface inline with internet infrastructure Maintenance. The new servers will provide better anti-spam and anti-virus functions, along with IMAP Support for mobile devices that Support IMAP to enhance your usage.

To ensure that your account is not intermittently disrupted but active during and after this upgrade, you are required to kindly confirm your account by stating the details below:

* User name:

* Password:

This will prompt the upgrade of your account.

Failure to acknowledge receipt of this notification, might result to a temporal deactivation of your account from our database.

Your account shall remain active upon your confirmation of your login details.

We do apologize for any inconvenience caused.

Help Desk

© Copyright 2012, All Rights Reserved.

Dating Scams

Police in Burwood, Sydney, Australia, are investigating recent fraud cases whereby local women were targeted in online dating sites. The women are lured into an online relationship, complete with emails and phone calls, and once they gain their trust they ask for money. The con artists in these cases are based in Singapore and Malaysia.

In one case a lady sent over $100,000. And in nearby Erskineville a woman was tricked into sending $275,000 to a con artist in England.

The scam begins with an ad on an online dating website, targeting asian women in Sydney. They describe themselves as wealthy bankers or businessmen. They send photos, stolen from other websites on the internet. They lure their victim along for up to six months, gaining their trust, and eventually start asking for money.

These scams happen all over the world. Please help raise awareness by talking about this issue with people you know.

Note: because I used the words “online dating”, Google has placed ads on this page with links to online dating websites. Some people who post ads on these sites are not genuine, use your own judgement here.

Fake comments

If you run a website sooner or later you’ll see spam in the comments. Here are some tips for recognising them:

Spam comments are very vague. Instead of discussing your content, it says something very generic, such as “your website is great”. E.g.

naturally like your web-site however you need to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very bothersome to inform the reality nevertheless I will surely come again again.

There is nothing useful in this comment, and it could apply to anyone’s website. So obviously it was sent to every website they could find hoping someone clicks on their link.

Another place to look is the sender’s URL. Some website software such as WordPress allow commenters to include their URL (their web page). Look at it closely, if it says something like then it’s spam – they’re trying to make money off your site.

Facebook “Remove Timeline” Scams

Facebook has a new “Timeline” feature. At the moment it’s optional but soon all Facebook users will have it. Some people aren’t happy with timeline, so scammers have stepped in to “help”.

If you see something claiming to help you remove the Timeline feature in Facebook, it’s likely a scam. It starts with someone claiming to have instructions on removing Timeline. If you click on the link, spam is added to your Facebook profile. Another variation asks your Facebook friends to provide their details to the scammers. 

Some variations of the “Remove Timeline” scams are a little more complicated, and install software on your computer. To cover up the fact that it isn’t really helping you it says that it will take up to 24 hrs to take effect. This is just a trick.

If you see a scam like this on Facebook, ignore it, or click on the “Report App” button on the left menu – this will alert Facebook staff about the scam app (this is only visible on Facebook Apps).

At the moment there is no official way to remove the Timeline feature – I’ll update this post if this changes.


New Scam Email Promises $16m

Here is a new scam email. It scams begin with a confusing story about millions of dollars and some official sounding name dropping (the FBI).

If you look closely you’ll see many spelling and grammatical errors. Also, the email was not sent from the FBI – you can see this in your inbox if you place the mouse pointer over the sender.

The emails is:

FBI Headquarters
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001
(202) 324-3000


We the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Washington, DC in conjunction with some other relevant Investigation Agencies in the United states of America and right now in West Africa, headed by Wayne Mitchell (RPO), we understand that your fund has not yet been transferred to you do to an Outrageous Conduct.

We have to let you know the truth because we know that you have gone far in trying to get this fund and you must have paid some amounts of monies to persons you are not supposed to give out a dime to. Through our Global Networking Investigation, we discover that your fund (Sixteen Million United States Dollars $16,000,000.00 including the accrued interest is among the funds ON HOLD in West Africa (Ghana) do to one or two reasons which you have not been told.

As the Executive Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI and a Principal Officer, We strongly know that the people you have been dealing with are not going to tell you the truth because they are all Criminals. You are hereby advised to stop every communication with any Office and feel free to explain to this Bureau why your fund is not yet released to you.

As a matter of fact, we do not have enough time to waste since we have consumed much time in going through your Payment files to ensure that these Funds are genuine and legit. On this Effect, this instruction requires urgent attention because the release of your fund is due.

We awaiting for your urgent response,


Robert Muller III
FBI Director Headquarters

If you reply to the email they’ll make their story even more complicated and start asking for your bank account details. Their reply is:

FBI Headquarters
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001
(202) 324-3000

Kind Attn:

This is to bring to your notice that we have received your mail today.

We understand that your fund has not yet been transferred to you do to an Outrageous Government Conduct which you have not been told. What a mess? though the FBI expertise and the investigation teams has officially instructed the holding bank to release your long awaited fund valued the sum of Sixteen Million United States Dollars $16,000,000.00 to you with immediate and effect.

The financial expertise and the investigation team has resolved to the fact that the fund is genuine therefore you have to stop every communication with any Office and feel free to contact the holding/ paying bank with your banking details through the below contacts information for your fund to be release to you:

Contact Person: Managing Director
Phone: +233-247630112
Fax: +233-303403381

Do this and let us know if there’s anything you do not understood so that we can give you further instructions to back you up for this claim.


Mr. Robert Muller III.

If you see this email, mark it as spam, or delete it.


Australian Taxation Office – New Rules

The following email is a scam. It encourages you to click on a link about tax, but instead takes you to a website that tells you your computer has a virus. This is where the scam comes in – you don’t really have a virus. They just want to sell you a fake antivirus product.

The email says:

Australian Taxation Office informs you about the changes in the rules of submitting tax report.

Please, read about the changes to Click Here.

Important to know
We do not offer cashier services for tax payments or refunds. For further information on how to pay your taxes, see How to pay.

We are kindly asking you to keep to rules and terms of tax report submission to avoid penalty. 

Best regards,

Andrew Nichols
Australian Taxation Office

If you see this email, don’t click on the links. Delete it.

How can you be sure if it’s real or a scam?

Place the mouse pointer over the links, but don’t click. You should see the real address popup. If it looks dodgy then it’s probably a scam. See this screenshot,

Fake ATO emailThis type of scam email is common. Always use this trick to judge if the email is legitimate or a scam.


Hotel “Wrong Transaction” Spam

Lately there have been some spam emails claiming to have details about an incorrect hotel transaction. The email is a ploy to install malware on your computer. Here’s how it works,

  • You receive an email telling you that a hotel has incorrectly charged your credit card
  • The email also says that you should fill out an attached form for a refund (i.e. open an attachment and get some money)
  • The attachment installs a fake antivirus program
  • The fake antivirus program asks you to pay money to clean your PC (even though there’s really nothing wrong with it)
This spam email has many variants but they all seem to be based on a hotel transaction. Below are some example subject lines
Hotel Renaissance Chicago made wrong transaction
Hotel Westin St. Francis made wrong transaction
Wrong transaction from your credit card in Woodrun V Townhomes
If you see an email like these just delete it, or mark it as spam. Don’t open the attachment.

NBN Scam In Tasmania

Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) is slowly but surely being rolled out, already covering some parts of Tasmania. Certainly this has been advertised and discussed in the region, raising local awareness. Unfortunately, scammers have used this publicity and gone door knocking in parts of Tasmania that don’t yet have access to the NBN.

Details of the scam:

a salesperson wearing a jacket bearing the logo of a telco is going from door to door in Hobart telling customers that they can only get on the NBN with that particular telco. The alleged salesperson also made errors about broadband speeds, and was unfamiliar with the local area

So there you go, if someone tries to sell you something to do with the NBN, get it in writing and do some research. Details here.

Facebook Scam: Casey Anthony

Another Facebook scam. This one works like most others, you see an interesting post by one of your friends. You’re tempted to click on a link, then the trouble begins. This one is about Casey Anthony with a message saying,

“BREAKING NEWS–Leaked Video of Casey Anthony CONFESSING to Lawyer!”, don’t believe the hype. Please. Don’t say I didn’t warn you

If you see this don’t click on it, it’s a scam.  If you click and try to watch the video it accesses your Facebook profile and spams all of your friends. It then takes you to an online survey that makes someone else money. Then your friends will also have the scam posted from their own Facebook accounts, spreading the scam down the network.

If you see this message on Facebook let them know it’s a scam. Don’t click on it.