The Crusader Newspaper Group


The world seems to be spiraling into chaos; based on its current state, nothing is as it seems.

For instance, there is a modern term called “phishing,” which means “the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.”

The bottom line is that people are encouraged to give up their credit card information and other sensitive data that scammers can use to steal from you.

Phishing is just one of a number of malicious strategies that are getting more devious every day. Phishers can actually send you email from what appears to be your bank or other institutions utilizing what appears to be the actual logos of those institutions. Once they acquire your information, the sky is not the limit as to what they can do; successful phishers’ use of your sensitive data can cause an individual to sink into the abyss of unwarranted debt.

Another very irritating problem is telephone scammers. They are related to the phisher men but use slightly differing strategies.

One scheme that has surfaced is that someone will call you on the telephone and let it ring one time and then hang up before you answer. You are expected to call the number back to see who it was, and when you say hello, or something else, they record your voice. They can, therefore, then use your voice to respond to various queries; in other words, they can pretend to be you and fraudulently make commitments in your name.

And then there are myriads of telephone spammers: some people can get as many as 50 calls a day. For many of them, if you note the number that is called and then call back, you get a message that the number is “out of service.”

In a related vein, there have been people who have received phone calls from someone who asked them why they were called; the catch is the person who owns the phone number did not make the call. In other words, it is possible for someone to call a third party using your telephone number!

Another variety of fraudulent activity is known as “catfishing.” It is the process of luring someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona.

There have been cases where a person actually believed they were engaged to someone only to find out that the person was not who they said they were. There are reports of numerous women who became engaged to someone in another country, only to find out that it was a scam. Unfortunately, by that time, the scammer had often received large sums of money from the desperate, lovestruck prospective bride.

The granddaddy of all of the fraudulent schemes permeating our society is what is termed “identity theft.”

Basically, investigators identify three of the most common types of identity theft: financial, medical and online. Because of the proliferation of fraud, a huge industry has arisen around the issue of fraud prevention, but you have to pay dearly to enlist the services of those businesses.

If cybercrime as demonstrated in online activities can be considered the microcosm of fraud, “fake news” is the macrocosm. There is a blanket of misinformation and disinformation blanketing the Earth.

As we become more technologically savvy, it becomes more difficult to protect people from predators. Things are so bad that very often people do not know what to believe, and some choose not to believe anything at all because very few things are as they seem! In an environment where people have been dumbed down, this is catastrophic!

The environment of fraud that engulfs our planet poses very serious problems. Trust in society and its institutions is eroded when people are constantly surrounded with smoke and mirrors. There are just too many “phishes” in the world that need to be identified and caught.

No easy solutions to the problem of phishing and related fraudulent schemes are evident. The best strategy would be that we take responsibility for protecting our identity online and elsewhere.

Ultimately, it boils down to developing a greater concern for our fellow citizens to the point that the idea of cheating people is not an option. Is this a pipe dream in a capitalistic society? Hopefully not, but in the meantime, be careful! A Luta Continua.

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