“Love is blind” – fraudsters know this saying and accurately select their victims on dating or social networking sites – warns the spokeswoman of the Siedlce police. He gives the example of a 37-year-old who wanted to help an “American soldier on a mission in Ukraine” and has already lost PLN 43,000, but still believes that she exists.
A few months ago, on one of the social networking sites, a 37-year-old commented on a woman’s photo. She contacted him in a private message and they started a conversation.
“The woman wrote that she was from the United States and was a soldier. The man lost his phone and the contact between them broke off for some time, but as soon as he got it back, the woman wrote to him again, informing him that she had gone on a mission to Ukraine. She said, that when she went on a mission she took basically all her things because she didn’t know if she would come back from this war. She wrote that she had already lost friends in the explosions and she didn’t want to lose her things, so she offered to send the 37-year-old a suitcase with her things so that he could kept it until she came to Poland, because she is planning such an arrival because she has Polish roots,” she described the course of events Ewelina Radomyska, press officer of the Siedlce police.
“The 37-year-old was and still is in contact with the American soldier”
The man agreed and gave his address. After a few days, he received an e-mail with information that the parcel was in Szczecin and that he had to pay customs duty of PLN 5,000.
“The man made a transfer using the data and account number received in the e-mail. When he made this payment, he received another e-mail that the package had been x-rayed and it turned out that there was a large sum of money in the suitcase and for this reason he had to pay a fine of PLN 15,500. The man paid this “penalty” in two tranches to subsequent bank accounts and the data he received in the e-mail,” the policewoman said.
After this payment, the company notified him that one of the accounts to which he transferred the money was blocked and he had to send the money again to another account, so the man transferred PLN 7,500 to another account again. Then the courier company asked him to pay another money in the amount of PLN 10,000 for an anti-money laundering certificate, which was allegedly issued by the customs office.
The man transferred the indicated amount again to the given account, and then received another e-mail informing him about the need to pay PLN 19,600 for 49 days of exceeding the period of keeping the parcel at the office. He did not pay this amount and asked for the company’s telephone contact or their address. Then he received a message from the company with photos of documents in the form of the man’s ID card and passport, who, after paying the latter amount, would contact him about delivering the package. The 37-year-old did not pay this amount and no one contacted him regarding the package.
“In this way, he lost PLN 43,000. All this time, the 37-year-old was and still is in contact with the “American soldier”, who asks about the parcel and asks the man to pick it up. So far, the Siedlce resident has not received any parcel, only receives e-mails asking for further transfers, not believing that it is related to the “soldier” he met – writes the policewoman.
“They prey on the feelings of their victims”
“Criminals use social engineering very well and prey on the feelings of their victims. The more the victim is ready to cooperate, the more funds they are able to extort from him. The victim himself makes cash payments to the bank account or foreign account provided by them,” admits the spokeswoman.
• First of all, follow the principle of limited trust – you are never sure who may be on the “other side”. • Nothing in life comes easy, especially big money offered to you by strangers. • Don’t act impulsively and think before you act. financial operation, whether such a parcel was definitely sent to you, whether the company asking for fees exists and what the customs fees are, when, for what and how much they are. • Consider whether the documents you receive, e.g. certificates, are not forged and whether you are participating in a crime if someone asks you for transfers using different personal and bank account details. • Never send money to someone you don’t know. If you are not sure about the credibility of the person contacting you, it is better to be careful and cancel the transaction. • If you have any doubts as to the credibility of the received e-mail, you can report suspected fraud at https://incydent.cert.pl or delete the e-mail or put it in the spam folder.
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