Cyber criminals are targeting people with connections to the FSM wherever they are
- Category: News
- Published: Friday, 01 December 2017 15:53
- Written by Bill Jaynes
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By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
November 14, 2017
FSM—There is only one reason for a person to create an online identity to impersonate someone else that you know. They want you to trust them at least long enough for you to give them your money or your identity so that they can take it themselves.
“Don’t do it,” warns Captain George Skilling of the FSM Transnational Crime Unit (TCU). Skilling encourages people of the FSM who suspect that they are being scammed on line to contact them the TCU. They can be contacted at 320-5713 or 320- 5803.
Cybercrime can have many faces, from cyber bullying to identity theft and fraud. Skilling says that he is surprised at the number of people who aren’t aware that non-consensual “sexting” is a cybercrime. Also sharing photos of your naked body with someone who didn’t ask for them is just as illegal as standing on a street corner in a trench coat and flashing passersby is. Sharing those types of photos with underage people is NEVER legal.
Captain Skilling says that TCU is once again preparing for an Internet crimes awareness campaign in schools and elsewhere. He said that the unit conducted a campaign in all four of the States in 2011 but that more awareness is needed. TCU is also developing a website to help educate people about the dangers of cybercrime and what the signs are.
For quite a while, scammers have been creating Facebook and other types of social media content claiming the identity of the FSM Government leaders. Using easily accessible news photos and other content, they claim that they are FSM President Peter M. Christian, Vice President Yosiwo George, or Secretary for Foreign Affairs Lorin S. Robert, for instance.
Some FSM Government leaders do have Facebook and other social media identities, but the vast majority of them do not, says Captain Skilling.
The President, Vice President, and Secretary for Foreign Affairs are not available on social media but someone is using their identities to deliver a scam regarding grants the scammers say are available because of a United Nations sponsored program. Taken to its end, if the conversation gets that far, the scammer will tell their victim that before they can release a large check to them, they have to pay a registration fee and prove their identities.
On Facebook, the messages come through Instant Messenger.
Some people are instantly suspicious because the scammer usually has bad grammar skills, or because they seem to know nothing about the FSM when asked. Several people reported that when they asked the person purporting to be President Christian to communicate in Pohnpeian, the person responded that they didn’t have the right keyboard and didn’t respond when the victim tried to communicate in Pohnpeian.
Knowing that President Christian does not have a social media presence, I confronted the person impersonationing him and threatened to report their activities to the Transnational Crime Unit. That person took the page down within seconds.
Another type of scam is an email scam where it seems that a person on your contact list is in trouble and needs financial help. If you’ll look carefully though, you will see that the sender’s email address will be subtly different from your contact’s address. Often they will say something to the effect of, “I’m in Katmandu and a Yeti ate my wallet (or something equally absurd). I’m stuck here…I have no place to stay, no food, and no way to return home. Can you help me? I’ll pay you back when I get home.”
But your friend has no idea that his or her identity has been used to con you into sending money to someone else. If you think your friend actually IS in trouble and needs your help, try to contact them in a different way and verify the situation independently from the claims they make on the fake email address.
Most people know about what has become known as the Nigerian scam. They continue every day and they wouldn’t continue if people didn’t fall for them. Some people in the FSM have fallen so hard for the scams that they have actually flown to another country to receive the huge sum of money they were promised and also losing the thousands of dollars they deposited into the scammer’s account.
“If it’s too good to be true,” Skilling says, “it probably isn’t true.”
You can’t win a lottery that you didn’t enter whether it is someone purporting to be from Yahoo, or Google, or Facebook or whoever else might tell you that you did. Don’t send them money to get more money. It just doesn’t work that way and is a scam.
Scammers have obviously decided that the people of FSM wherever they are in the world, are easy targets for cybercrime. The Internet can be a fantastic place but like the rest of the world, it can also be very dangerous.
“If you think it’s fishy, it probably is,” Captain Skilling said. “Report it to us.”