Think of the worst people you can. The lowliest scumbags, the real dregs of humanity. Degenerate sleazeballs, sociopathic villains, those that drove Nietzsche to describe Man as “the cruelest animal”.
I’m not talking about ancient kings or pillaging barbarians. Through our journey with Retruster, we’ve come across some of the most despicable human beings using very modern techniques to take advantage of society’s most vulnerable.
Yes, This Did Happen
It first came to our attention with the tragic story of Steve and Claudia Tatevich, an elderly couple from Minnesota who decided to buy a townhouse with their retirement savings, to move closer to their kids and grandkids.
They got sent a series of fake emails, ostensibly from their transferring company, but with the scamsters’ bank details. They lost everything. Steve still recalls the exact amount: $205,742, and Claudia recounts how it’s something she has to think about every single day. The emails were tracked to Romania, although after this, the trail ran cold. These are the types of people that wilfully and skilfully steal old people’s life savings.
It’s tragic when it’s elderly people, but no less so when it’s young couples with families starting off their lives together. This ordinary DC couple lost $1.5m in a similar scheme, when they thought they were purchasing their dream home. Emails that seemed to be from Federal Title, their transferring company, were sophisticated fakes (including fake phone numbers), and money was transferred to the criminals’ bank account — and lost forever.
Be Aware of the Threats
It’s a disturbing new trend. Hackers are targeting home buyers and mortgage companies, cynically taking advantage of people when they’re about to purchase what is probably the most important and hard-earned asset of their lives. The FBI have warned about these attacks. The FBI have even been used to perpetrate these types of attacks. Yet still, they continue.
(If you’re involved in property, or are negotiating big purchases, see below for some critical measures to take to ensure these lowlifes don’t take advantage of you.)
Who else could these despicable people target? Which other innocent victims can they find, if not the elderly? The answer is young students. First-year students are being targeted in a new email scam. They receive emails from claiming their Student Loans Company (SLC), informing them that their accounts have been suspended. They are then asked to update their SLC accounts, including their banking details, and are emptied out. These are young adults just starting off their lives, many taking huge loans and investing all their savings for the opportunity of a higher education.
So what can you do to protect yourself, the people you care about, and your business?
The obvious answer is getting Retruster now. If anyone wants anything important from you, tell them to send you a request using Retruster, otherwise you’re not interested. Ensure that key clients and partners have the Retruster system in place, to make sure you’re both protected.
Besides this, the usual recommendations are:
- Double check who sent you an email
- For large amounts, transfer a smaller amount and confirm receipt with the company
- Never send personal or banking details over email
- Be suspicious of requests for financial or personal information
It’s critical to stay vigilant. It’s unfortunately obvious that there exist really bad people in the world, who will not hesitate to take advantage of society’s most vulnerable. Together though, we can defeat them.