Home » Consumer's voice » Consumer’s Voice – 28th September 2012

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I was looking for a job and I was offered a volunteer position in an orphanage in Costa Rica paying $770 per week by a company called “i-to-i Volunteering”. Can you check them out for me?

i-to-I Volunteering is certainly a valid company but that’s not who you’ve been dealing with. In fact the person who emailed you is a scammer pretending to be working with them.

The clues were there if you looked very closely. Firstly you’ll see that the scammer is using an email address that ends with “@worker.com”. The real company use email addresses ending with either “@i-to-itravel.com” or “@i-to-i.com”. You’ll also see that the phone numbers he gives aren’t the same as the genuine company. Instead he’s using a UK-based redirectable cellphone number. You might think you’re calling him in the UK but he could be anywhere in the world. Always be careful calling anyone in the UK who gives a number starting with 7. Like here that’s a cellphone number. Real business people have landlines.

Then there’s the great contradiction involved. They’re offering you a “volunteer” position but say they’ll pay you $770 per week? That’s over P300,000 per year. Volunteers don’t earn that sort of money anywhere, they’re volunteers and certainly not in a Central American orphanage!

I contacted the real i-to-i Volunteering people in the UK and they know about this guy. He calls himself “Michael Lincoln” and is absolutely nothing to do with then. For a bit of fun I phoned him and explained that he’d been exposed and he wasn’t a very happy man. Shame.

If he contacts you with a job offer like this, in fact if anyone does, you should either delete the email and forget about it, or alternatively email him back and tell him what you think about him! Don’t feel the need to be polite, he doesn’t deserve it.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

I received an email from American Express asking me if I had recently reset my User Id or password. It said that “If so, you can disregard this email. To help protect your identity online, we wanted to be sure that you had made this request.”

Is this for real?

No, it’s not. I don’t even have to ask you if you have an American Express card to know that this is a scam. The reason is simple. Later in the email it asks you to click on a link to log on to your account.

REAL BANKS AND CREDIT CARD COMPANIES NEVER DO THIS.

Not ever. No genuine bank will ever ask you to click on a link in an email like this. The most they will ever do is suggest that you log on yourself by opening your browser and typing the address yourself, or using a bookmark you previously saved. The reason is simple. The link in the email doesn’t actually go to American Express, it goes to a “phishing” site somewhere else.

 

You can tell this for yourself by holding your pointer over the link but without clicking. Your browser will show you where the link will actually tell you. The picture shows what happened in your case. If you look closely the link that SAYS it connects to americanexpress.com in fact connects to a page on mrelgin.com. This second site has been hijacked by scammers trying to steal your money. Once you get to the hijacked site you’ll see a perfect replica of the genuine site, so perfect you’ll be tempted to enter your user name and password, handing it over to crooks who’ll be in your real bank account within moments. You can then say Goodbye to your money.

Actually the real owners of this site have fixed the problem now but it’s really important that you inspect any links in emails you receive BEFORE you click on them. It only takes a couple of seconds and it might save you from losing the contents of your bank account.

Finally, whenever you receive an email like this that SEEMS to be from your bank please forward it to us and also to your bank so they can take action to cut off the scam.

 

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The Consumer’s Voice is brought to you by Consumer Watchdog. We’re here to help consumers with problems with suppliers, to help consumers stand up for themselves and also to help suppliers improve the services they deliver. It doesn’t cost you a thing so if you need our help you can reach us by email us at watchdog@bes.bw, by post to Consumer Watchdog, P. Box 403026, Gaborone or by phone on 3904582 or fax on 3911763. Read the Consumer Watchdog blog where you can comment, celebrate and complain at consumerwatchdogbw.blogspot.com. Also join our Facebook group called “Consumer Watchdog Botswana”.

 


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