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Online Cell Phone Scams and Spam

They're out there. Individuals trying to make a quick buck at your expense. You labour hours on end to produce quality content on your website only to get repetitive requests for huge numbers of product or promises for the greatest deals online. As a webmaster for a cell phone and PDA site, I've had my share of spam and scams come through, mostly via email, some posted on my forum. The purpose of this article is to provide a few methods of detecting spam and scams, and provide a few examples as well. Take a look over and protect yourself from online cellular fraud.

Anybody catch the 60 minutes episode where Andy Rooney teaches faithful viewers how to detect junk mail? Junk email works in much the same way. Items with subject headings 'Great deal', or 'limited time offer' usually can wait, and definitely don't have great offers hidden inside. Webmasters and consumers should have a golden rule, if you don't know where an offer came from (you don't know the sender) then delete it. Plain and simple. Most free email accounts, GMAIL, Hotmail, Yahoo!, have good filters that label incoming spam and scams as, well, spam. However, the majority of webmasters do not use free email accounts for the sake of professionalism. To these individuals, a basic virus detector usually includes email protection and generally will detect possible spam items before they hit your box. Having said this, if you're doing link campaigns, or joining forums, etc., in order to promote your site, it may not be a bad idea to enlist the free online email account and prevent all the unwanted junk from hitting your work emails.

It's been my experience that some people out there hand pick contact pages of potential victims, and therefore the email may be somewhat individualised to your site. Your name, the site name, or similar content, may be communicated within the email making it appear somewhat legitimate. Be mindful of your email accounts (contact pages) that are exposed to the world wide web. Some smart scammers have created bots that will automatically harvest emails that are sitting live on the web and input them into a spam list. Remember this when trying to determine whether something from the web is legit.

If an questionable email has contact information, Google it. If it's a legitimate company contacting you, they should have some type of online presence. I've noticed that the majority of spam and scams have fake mail addresses, but no online address. Furthermore, emails usually come from online web accounts like Yahoo!. Not only can you search contact information, you can serach content as well. Chances are a webmaster has posted the contents on a forum somewhere wondering about its legitimacy. I can't stress this enough, take 4 seconds and doabout the email before you consider replying.

With these simple and quick tips you should be able to identify the majority of scam and spam emails. If in doubt, delete. If something was important that you deleted, or legitimate, the individual will likely try to contact you again. With this in mind, here are some examples of spam and scam emails from the cellular and technology industry, my comments are in brackets.

Subject: WE HAVE LOTS OF GSM/NEXTEL MOBILE PHONES AT VERY CHEAP PRICES'''''''' [The subject always varies.]

PHONES SELLERS INCORPORATED
12 Ademola drive,ikoyi
Lagos Nigeria [Many, many, many emails have come with Nigeria as the purported origin, doesn't mean it's from there, but out of country addresses are always suspect of being fraudulent.]

Dear Sir/Ma,

LETTER OF BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP
We are mobile phones wholesalers. We deals on all brands and models of mobile phones such as Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and many more at very cheap prices. We are using this medium to look for buyers of mobile phones.Do kindly reply back if you are interested and as you do you will be glad you do,thank's and God bless.

Fola David
President.

[A variation of the above is instead of written body content, they will actually send a product list of the cell phones they require asking for a dozen of each. Sounds like great business!...Here's the next one]

CONSOLIDATED PHONES LIMITED
152, OZORUMBA MBADIWE STREET
OFF KINGSWAY ROAD.
VICTORY ISLAND LAGOS, [no record of this address]
TEL: 0803-3870-694
FAX: 1- 817-0845, [not even a real number]
Email:consphones_ltd@seeqmail.com. [bad domain]
or consphone@galmail.co.za

Dear sir,

COMMERCIAL SALE OF BULK MOBILE PHONES

WE ARE EXPORTERS AND IMPORTERS OF GSM, TDMA, AND CDMA PHONES. [CDMA Phones do not run the majority of African networks.] WE ARE ONE OF THE LEADING COMPANIES IN NIGERIAN COMMUNICATIONS SECTOR, AND WE GIVE OUT OUR BEST IN SATISFYING OUR NUMEROUS CUSTORMERS. WE SELL IN BULK AND AT A VERY CHEAP RATE.

WE WILL LIKE TO USE THIS MEDIUM TO INTRODUCE TO YOU OUR VARIOUS PHONE BRANDS AND ACCESSORIES LISTED IN OUR PRICE LIST. THESE ITEMS ARE READY FOR SALE AND THE PRICE LIST IS AS GIVEN BELOW. WE WILL BE WAITING AND READY TO ASSIST YOU IN ANY INFORMATION REQUIRED BY YOU, AND ALSO, WE ARE READY TO DO BUSINESS WITH ANY COMPANY, INDIVIDUALS OR GROUP AS LONG AS THEY ARE NOT FRAUDULENT. [Of course you wouldn't.]

WE WILL SEND OUR RANGE OF PRODUCTS AND PRICE LIST ON DEMAND.

BEST REGARD.

JULIAN JONES (MISS)
Email: jonesjulian2001@yahoo.com [This email is different than the ones atop] For: CONSOLIDATED PHONES LTD.

But two examples of two spam/scam emails. Keep your eyes peeled webmasters!

Barry Nagassar is owner and operator of DiscussWireless an online cell phone and PDA forum that provides the latest cell phone news, reviews, and cell phone fraud discussion. Included is a comprehensive compare and shop section for the latest cellular and PDA phones. Compare competitor prices in one location, or join the forum and post the latest review or service provider issue. Complete cell phone fraud forum included.

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