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E-Scams and Women

B.E.George Dimitrov

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“I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women haveachieved.” – B.R. Ambedkar

Introduction

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Nowadays a fastest growing and everlasting mode of communication couldbe done only with the help of media. Media has done a wider extend of providingbasic information, knowledge, reality, socialization, shaping the perception of theindividual and upgradation. This is the period of “Information Explosion” and this age is considered as the “Age of Information” this growing trend has made theinvolvement of youth, men, women, children in shaping their life patterns as wellas providing a better outlook of socialization pattern.In this concern, Internet and Technology is being used worldwide whichcontributes huge users in social media like Face book, Twitter and others. Internetis viewed to be a source of valuable information which are often used as a sourceof making money or obtain services using illegally or fraudulently which affectsthe Internet Economy worldwide. In many conditions fraudulent activities aretargeted on women and they always fall as victims of these kinds of E-scams it isvery common where they are spied by various hackers in viewing their accounts,emails, identity, etc.

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E-Scam:

E-scams have been discussed from the starting stages of internet which ishighly related with e-business,e-commerce and e-banking activities it has been reported from the early years of 1970’s where these kinds of fraudulent or illegalactivities started out which is also called as Advance Fees Fraud(AFF). It has been reported that more than 51,761 scammers are there worldwide, where it is mostlyoperated from Nigeria and other 69 countries. In 2009 alone victims lost around9.3 billion dollars to 419 scammers, this has been a huge loss worldwide wheremore than 41 billion dollars has been lost till date which shows an annual increaseof 5% every year which affects the Internet Economy.

Social Engineering:

Social Engineering is very commonly used by e-fraudsters by normal scamartists in the name of famous personalities or most reputed member in the societywho may be a famous magazine seller, car seller, oil corporations, governmentagencies, banks, etc. When we speak about social engineering it is a usage ofnumerous techniques through which it intends to manipulate the “victim” by athreat or kindness and creating pressure. “Your Account will be closed in 24 hours if you don’t click the link below to update your account information” you willreceive an email to your mailbox or an text message to your mobile phones whichis very often used by these scammers.

Women and E-scams:

Women are one of the easiest ways of exploitation in all sorts of media,whether it is business, employment, education and others, they are all used as theweaker side through which their bodies are considered as commodity which hasbeen trusted worldwide. Women are always portrayed as an innocent, kind, love,affection, emotional, cultural, etc. When looking from the west these activities arenot very common it is highly depicted in a country which is being developing with cross culture like India and other third world countries. Women are the easiestsectors of exploitation were she is used as a weapon of destruction.

E-Scammers mainly target women where a country which is highlyunemployed of 14 Crore people in India, there is a huge competition foremployment and other activities for their daily bread. When these kind ofscammers they spy out lonely women who are in search of jobs or those who areinterest in business opportunity where they send messages through e-mails, mobile phones, bank accounts, matrimonial proposals,dating,etc. These kinds of messages carry out you have won a lottery your e-mail has been selected as the only winnerworldwide and stating out one of our agents are arriving with your consignmentand you should pay customs duties to receive your consignment kindly deposit the money in this account no. When women who view these messages she is not ready to share this news to their friends or relatives where the problem arises.

She doesn’t knows that she is going to be exploited were these scammersmake them believe by calling their mobile numbers often that they have receivedwith their consignment and wish to meet you in this order we would like you todeposit the money in their account as soon as possible and take your consignment. Many of the scammers who have better knowledge about various country theychoose India and other countries were women could be easily cornered throughtheir networks in these situations women are pressurized to intended in easy waysof earning money where they are exploited by these groups in depositing theirmoney to these scammers.

Indian women are very much sensitive, emotional, kind hearted, they receive emails which shows sensitivity and emotional stating out “I lost my husband and Iam suffering alone with my kids please help me by transferring my amount to your account” showing an emergency which makes women to show kindness over them. When they reply or contact them problem arises they give their account no anddetails to them sometimes send money to their accounts. Very often they spyaccounts and others as soon as possible and earn money in seconds, women arebeing mesmerized soon to earn money somehow to become rich in status are verymuch target by these fraudsters. They make them believe it’s true through theirphotographs, award letters, promo lottery, bank accounts, etc.

On the other side we find mails that comprising of employmentopportunities which brings out “Are you at home just typing work and you canearn more than 20,000/- monthly”, where they target women who are at home who are easily victimized in these kind of fake jobs opportunity on the internet. Manywomen are not aware about the work which is given to them, where their work isfixed with time and according to the work done the amount is being credited but in most conditions they are not paid instead they are been exploited a lot by thesekinds of fraudsters.

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) says that they have received 262,813 Complaints Reported in the year 2013. Which comprises of 45.5 percent (119,457 complaints) reported with huge financial losses. In 2013, therewas a increase in complaints reported by men compared to the complaints reported by women in 2012.

2013 Complainant Demographics

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Romance/Dating Scam

Some of the scammers post the profile of famous women and men modelsusing their stolen photographs which are depicted asking for men or women tocontact them. E-mails, letters, photograhs are exchanged between these scammersand the victim till the scammer feels that they have mesmerized the victim enough to ask for money. In most common cause they ask for expenses that might be forrequests for airplane tickets, medical expenses, education expenses, monthly expenses, laptops, mobile phones, etc. They usually promise the victim that theywill one day join them in their country. These scams usually end when the victimrealizes that they are being exploited and stops sending money. Men and womencan be highly traumatized by these dating and romance scams and are often feelvery embarrassed and ashamed when they learn they have become a victim of ascam.

Romance Scam Demographics

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 Apart from this there are various scams which affect the internet economy of each and every country. When it comes to the top most five countries which arehighly affected through scams are United States, Canada, U.K., India andAustralia. It is shocking that India is also under these kinds of internet scams werehigher number are women. Women due to their weakness they fall prey to theinternet fraudsters.

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Table.3-Victim Countries by Complaint Total Loss 2013

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Some of the ways to prevent E-Scams:

Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail.

Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.

Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as thefiles may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Scan the attachments for viruses if possible.

Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mail messages that ask for personalinformation.

Always compare the link in the e-mail with the link to which you aredirected and determine if they match and will lead you to a legitimate site.

Log directly onto the official website for the business identified in the e-mail, instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited e-mail. If the e-mailappears to be from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you dealwith frequently, your statements or official correspondence from thebusiness will provide the proper contact information.

Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the e-mail to verify if the e-mail is genuine.

If you are asked to act quickly, or there is an emergency, it may be a scam.Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly.

Verify any requests for personal information from any business or financialinstitution by contacting them using the main contact information.

Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Notes:

1.Victims lost $9.3 billion to 419 scammers in 2009.It’s hard to believe that people are still falling for advance-fee fraud …by Jacqui Cheng – Jan 30 2010, 0:03am -550.2.

http://www.shadowserver.org/wiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage/ – Information – EFraud.mht, October 2012.3.

E-Payments & Security – E-retail fraud rate hits a record low in 2011 – “Internet Retailer Social Media 2012”.mht, February 2, 2012, 11:25 AM4

.“Nigerian Scams” Crime Branch Criminal Investigation Branch, Tamilnadu,India,2012.5.

http://mashable.com/2012/08/21/how-to-identify-a-scam-e-mail/6.

FBI (2013) Internet Crime Report.

By

B.E.George Dimitrov,

Research Scholar,

Dept of Political Science and Development Administration,

Gandhigram Rural Institute – Deemed University,

Gandhigram-624302. Tamil Nadu,India.

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