Warning on scam mails

31/08/2009 14:28

The Consumer Council warns consumers and members of the public not to commit themselves or even consider replying to letters/e-mails/text messages from persons they do not know who seek to engage in financial deals purportedly worth millions of dollars.

The scam letters/e-mails/text messages come either through normal surface mail, electronic mail or mobile phones. These mails are re-appearing again with the Council receiving queries and letters of concerns from members of the public who have been offered large sums of money, lucrative jobs, permanent residency overseas, winning lottery numbers, etc.

Lately scam emails or unsolicited mails (SPAM) have become an eye sore for many email users. The Council is advising the general public to delete these immediately or use address blocking functions on their email to block future emails from these persons.

Most of these scam emails promise lucrative financial deals and many appear genuine with a return email address and listed phone numbers. People receiving these mails should not be mislead by tales of hardship that attempt to evoke sympathy. In particular, emails sent from African destinations that detail stories of dead relatives who have left behind large sums of money locked away in some fictitious bank account or financial institution. The stories they tell are simply too good to be true seeking to transfer large sums of money from their so called ‘private security company’, which is not named, to your account to assist them invest in the country in ‘any meaningful way’.

During periods of economic hardship, there are always people around who try to take advantage of the vulnerable and swindle money off them. The Council wishes to advise consumers they must not give out their bank account details and passport numbers to any person(s), or any other personal financial information via these suspect mails. They should not at any time provider their private phone or fax numbers, as these can be used for further correspondences from the scammers or used to defraud others.

Furthermore, the Council is also concerned with the increase in SPAM and unsolicited ads appearing via text messages to consumers. We received a complaint last week on this issue. The Council calls on mobile phone companies – Vodafone, Digicel and Inkk to take on the responsibility of stopping SPAM and unsolicited ads being sent to their customers who did not wish to receive this. Mobile phone users should not be inundated with SPAM texts which are not just irritating but impinge on consumers’ rights to choice and privacy.