Fake Virus Scan

Here’s something that happens every day, a message appears in your web browser telling you a virus was found and to click OK to do a scan. To get straight to the point, this is a fake antivirus program designed to trick you into installing real malware.

If you see this on your browser, close the browser. Don’t click on any buttons. And most importantly, don’t panic. These scams are designed to scare you into making irrational decisions.

Below are screenshots of how it looks (click to enlarge the screenshots):



This type of scam happens on both Windows and Mac computers.

Smileworld Scam

If you receive the following email about SmileWorld delete it, don’t click on the attachment. It’s a scam.

Dear Customer,

This e-mail was send by smileworld.com to notify you that we have temporanly prevented access to your account.

We have reasons to beleive that your account may have been accessed by someone else. Please run attached file and Follow instructions.

(C) smileworld.com



Note how many spelling mistakes and typographical errors there are in the email. A serious company would proof read any emails such as this.

Also, there is no reason for any company to send you unsolicited attachments. It’s a sure sign of a scam.

Free $1000 Ikea Gift Card Scam

Some ads have appeared on Facebook and Twitter. The ads are:

  • Contratulations. Get a free $1,000 Ikea Gift Card
  • Get A Free Apple Ipad Just For Testing It!: Would You Like To Test Apple Ipod? Get Your Free IPad Here Hurry
  • Get the Aple iPad Free

Note how many mistakes there are on the second one, a clear sign of a scam.

All of these ads are part of a scam. They take you to a site that asks for your name, address, date of birth, and email. These details are used to send you more spam.

Then you are taken to an online gambling site, hoping that you’ll be tempted to hand over money.

Nearly 40,000 Facebook users have been tricked by this scam, and it doesn’t end there. The same scam is also used for fake food gift certificates, and no doubt will continue to evolve.

If you see scams like these, please don’t forward the message along. You don’t want your friends and family to fall victims of a scam. Do proper research before passing any “bargain” messages along.

Another Scam Job

Emails like this are scams. They are not legitimate jobs and you should not contact the sender – it’s part of a money mule scam.

Some words in this email can change but the general part of it remains the same:

My name is Earnest and our company currently has several positions it needs to fill in your region.
We are a well known company with offices throughout Europe, Asia and North America.
Our current turnover is over 130 million annually and we are still seeking for expansion.
I have 12 vacancies of Financial Assistant that need to be fulfilled immediately.

Major operational duties are prompt receiving and processing customer’s payments for their further transfer according to the specified method. Detailed work scheme will be provided upon request.

I am looking for self-motivated individuals with strong work ethics and ability to schedule work hours effectively.


* Expert skills in managing payments and transfers between our company and clients
* Knowledge of basic payment systems
* Bank account (personal or business)
* Advanced PC and Internet skills
* Minimum 24 y.o.

*Salary plus commissions
*Full reimbursement of banking and Western Union fees.

NOTE: This vacancy is valid for American residents ONLY.

Contacts: <removed>

So if you see an email like this delete it. Don’t fall for the scam.

Facebook Groups And Toolbars

There is a facebook group that promises some special abilities but it’s actually a bit of a scam. The group is called:


Apart from the annoying all-caps writing, the group suggests you install a toolbar to make this possible.

You should never install toolbars unless you completely trust the company who made it and really need it. In this case, Facebook didn’t make the toolbar. A stranger did. And you don’t really need it (and it doesn’t do what’s promised).

So do people fall for these things? I looked at this group in Facebook and 146,604 have joined it. That’s a lot of gullible people who don’t understand how Facebook’s privacy works.

There isn’t much information on what the toolbar actually does but it seems to spam your friends. Spamming is not nice (and possibly illegal in some places).

An Interview with a Nigerian Internet Scammer

The Nigerian scam goes by a few names and I’ve explained how it works before.

Here is an interview with someone who really scammed people using this technique. He explains how the scam operations work, how much work they put into building people’s trust and eventually take their money.

It’s an interesting read and it’s certainly a different way to learn about these scams and avoid them. It would be useful to show this interview to people who might be new to the internet. Then hopefully less people will fall victim to it.

The full interview is split into three parts:

Fake CUA Email

The following email is a phishing scam. It tries to trick people into handing over some account details. The usual trick for phishing scams is to make the email sound important, and there’s a link in the email to make it easier to get to the scammer’s web site.

The phishing email says:

Dear member:

We have recently updated our Online system to include new layer secure authentication. This is intended to provide you with the best security possible when accessing your account.
You will need to update your account in order to continue using your card.

CUA Update

Your ticket code is L690545X.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your patience and understanding.
Member ID 690545

The domain name they use is cua-members-australia (.com). After doing some simple research, CUA is a credit union in Australia. Their real address is www.cua.com.au so the one provided is obviously fake, even though it might sound real. Further research shows that the fake address was registered in USA (even though these details could also be fake).

Below is a screenshot of the phishing scam site:


They get straight to business asking for a card number and a PIN. Very private information that no one should ask you.

Texaco Money Mule Scam

I’ve written about money mule scams before, here’s another one.

When a scammer has a large amount of money to move, such as stolen money they want transferred into their own bank, they don’t do it themselves. That would make them too easy to get caught.

What they sometimes do is ask other people to transfer the money. They tell these other people that it’s a legitimate job, and trick them into making these bank transactions.

They even go so far as to invent a company in order to recruit innocent people, or sometimes borrow the name of a legitimate company.

One such example is a job ad that claims to be from a US company called Texaco. The scammers sent a forged email with a link to a fake website, made to look like the read Texaco.

The scam email says:

Texaco/Chevron Downstream Europe
  1 Westferry Circus Canary Wharf
  London E14 4HA

Dear Job Candidate,

The TEXACO Online Employment System wish to inform you that your posted information onlinehas been carefully and confidentially reviewed by our Recruitment Team Professionals and we have considered under our current vacant opportunities within the Firm to employ you for work in our company.

TEXACO Online Employment System is affiliated to various job recruitment websites and your information was submitted to us by our online agent that submit job candidate resumes for consideration of employment depending on the vacancies we have in any branch of TEXACO Company Worldwide.

As regards to this, you have been automatically granted this employment to work in TEXACO Oil & Gas Field with a monthly salary of Eight Thousand
Five Hundred Pounds (£8,500).

Kindly acknowledge the content of this message by reconfirming your interest in working for us and indicating your area of job interest, ensuring that you
have quoted your vacancy title below or send your CV with a covering letter.

For further details relating to your employment, kindly send an email to
Texaco/Chevron Downstream Europe H/R Recruitment Service Department
texaco@post.com / http:// texaco.us.ms / http:// texaco.com/portal_default.asp/.

  Paul Matins
  HR Recruitment Manager

This email is a scam. The web site that they give ends with .us.ms – this is not the real Texaco’s domain name.

So the next time you see a job ad too good to be true, consider if it might be a money mule scam. Does the job ad promise to pay an unusually large rate? Is the work unusually easy? Is the job description vague? Is the web address correct? Did you receive the job ad in an unsolicited email? These are all questions you need to ask yourself.

Facebook Un Named App

Here’s a combined hoax and malware. Let’s start from the beginning.

People have been posting notes on Facebook about something called “un named app”. It tells you to remove something from Facebook. It’s a hoax. Don’t believe what it says, don’t follow the instructions, and don’t pass it on.

Below are some quotes of the hoax:

ALERT >>>>> Has your facebook been running slow lately? Go to “Settings” and select “application settings”, change the dropdown box to “added to profile”. If you see one in there called “un named app” delete it… It’s an internal spybot. Pass it on

this is real.. i checked and found this app and deleted it… hopefully, my facebook will run better now.

Cannot believe how much quicker mine is running after doing this….

I don’t have this app on my Facebook account but if you do, don’t worry. It’s a normal part of Facebook and you shouldn’t delete it.

Now the second part of this hoax is a real trojan. If you go to Google and search for “facebook unnamed app” you’ll see quite a few results. Some of these results are fake antivirus programs.

A fake antivirus program is actually a trojan. It pretends to scan your PC and quietly installs malware in the background. It goes under the name of Security Tool, it has a fancy detection screen and everything. But it’s definitely bad.

The rule of thumb is that if a web page tells you that your PC might be infected, don’t trust it. Go and get your own antivirus program, not something that pops up on your screen (see here for a good free antivirus program).

There’s a lot to learn here. Basically, be careful who you trust. These days scammers have to trick you into installing malware and they’re good at it (it’s called social engineering).