A woman who posed as a UN diplomat took nearly €9,000 from a Japanese woman in Dublin airport after promising her access to a container filled with $10 million in cash, according to a report by The Irish Times.
What started as a spam message, promising immense riches that appeared in the Japanese woman’s LinkedIn mailbox, later brought her to Dublin, where she handed over €9,000 to a Polish national Agata Pracz, living in Swords, Co. Dublin, who posed as a US general and a UN diplomat, for the chance to access a container holding over $10 million in cash, supposedly waiting for her in a Dublin warehouse.
Sounds like a classic phishing scam gone too far. Fortunately, the Japanese woman alerted the embassy of this and Irish law enforcement stepped in, arresting the scammer and recovering some of the victim’s money. In court the perpetrator told the judge she got involved in this by a Nigerian scammer she supposedly met at a bar, using her only as a courier, but he didn’t quite believe her.
In an additional twist, the newspaper reports, “Garda experts were unable to hack into the laptop, which was heavily encrypted and Pracz told gardaí she could not remember the password.” Convenient, isn’t it, since most of the evidence of the exchanges between the victim and the scammers were likely on that laptop.
So, what can we learn from all this?
- Well, first and foremost, don’t fall for phishing scams that promise you money. Or anything else.
- Second, don’t hand over your money to scammers over promises of anything.
- Third, particularly, don’t fly to foreign countries to hand money over to scammers.
- Fourth, if you spot anything suspicious in any online dealings, report it to the authorities.
- And fifth, if you want to keep contents of your laptops and other devices hidden from unauthorised eyes, use encryption. 😉
by Urban Schrott, ESET Ireland