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Money Dec 14, 2012

Sympathy, greed, fear and ambition can land you in trouble

By Bindisha Sarang

The dictionary defines emotions as "a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others". And, like people, things too work on our emotions-even emails. How so? There are four types of emails that fraudster are sending to generate an emotional response that entices you to do stupid things. These emotions range from greed to fear and sympathy to those that fuel your ambitions. And, if you are not aware of such emails, you will take some pretty stupid steps that could either land you in trouble, like loss of money, penalisation and imprisonment, or simply make a fool out of you.

Miss. Sympathy: If you are someone with a sympathetic predisposition, you better be aware of the lady who begs for your help to rescue her from a repressive regime in her home country. She claims that she has millions of dollars and she needs to get out of her country, with the money. So, all you need to do is send her your bank details, a small funds transfer fee and she would transfer the funds into your account and once she is out of her country, you have to return the funds. In return, she would pay you a huge commission and bless your soul. Of course, though she has millions of dollars, you have to first help her out with a funds transfer fee. Fall for this bait, and you will never get the million dollars but will definitely lose the fund transfer fee you sent.

Ignore such mails at any cost or you will simply lose your money.AFP

Tip: Ignore such mails at any cost or you will simply lose your money.

Mrs. Fear: No one wants to be in a dangerous place. And, if an email promises you a tip to protect yourself from criminals at an ATM, who wouldn't want to know? This email promises to give you a trick to notify the police, in case you get mugged at an ATM, especially at nights. The email says - if you punch your debit card PIN in a reverse order, the ATM will signal the nearest police station and within a few minutes, help will be on its way. It's good to ignore such emails, since in reality no ATMs offer such a service. Also, it's common sense that this simply can't be true; after all if someone's PIN is 6789 the reverse would be 9876. But, in the same way, there must be thousands of people who have their PIN as 5555 and the reverse still would be 5555, and have you ever seen a police van rushing at ATMs before?

Tip: Don't even open such emails that offer money tips and the like. Reason being? Even as you open the email, the fraudster is downloading on your computer viruses and malwares, to get control of the data on your computer and commit frauds.

Mr. Ambition: Emails that promis to fuel your ambitions and open doors to opportunities in good companies have been making rounds for sometime now. The email says that you've got a job interview in a reputed company and to appear for the interview (always in some far away city) you need to give HR the travel fare which would be reimbursed once the interview is conducted. If you are blind by your ambition and fall for such a fake job offer, you lose a good amount of money. In fact, such fake offers even come in the name of big companies like L&T and ICICI Bank too. Always, remember that a company would never ask you to pay for the travel tickets. In fact, most major institutions have information posted on their websites regarding such job offer scams.

Tip: If the interview email is asking for money and the HR representatives' mobile number it's a red flag. Simply ignore such emails and visit the company's website to check out the vacancies there.

Mr. Greed: After Gordon Gekko said "greed is good", remember where he spent the rest of his days? In jail. Unless you too want to land up in jail like him, it's best to ignore certain kinds of emails. For instance, an email stating that you've won a billion pounds in an online lottery you have never participated in. The fraudster asks you to pay a huge fee as fund transfer charge and taxes, so that they can send you the money you just won into your bank account. Of course, they also ask you to provide all financial details as well. If greed gets the better of you, you will not only lose the money, you might just go behind the bars. The fraudster's modus operandi is so sophisticated that you get entangled in the trap, where you are to send small amounts as fees on periodic basis to get the huge lottery win. In the bargain, you not only lose money, but also violate FEMA laws, read here, and with the amount of money laundering happening these days, authorities are always on the watch. This means, getting caught isn't that difficult.

Tip: Ignore these emails and be safe. Entertain these emails and accompany Gekko in prison.

These are emails, we've encountered. Let us know of any such fake, fraud emails that hit your inbox too.

by Bindisha Sarang

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