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How to catch online thieves
08Aug2016

How to catch online thieves

Yes, I am just a website designer. But spending so much time on the internet forces you to learn certain things. Things like detecting online thieves. Please read till the end and see if it saves you or anyone you know from being conned. We spend so much time on the internet and we find so many interesting things that keep us engaged, things that we hope to gain from and things that are too good to just ignore. But just like real life, thieves love crowded places and the internet is the most crowded place that I know.

First let's understand how internet fraud works. Some people set traps to increase traffic on their websites in order to raise their search engine rankings. Some set traps to infect you with viruses but some set traps to steal money from you and these are the ones we shall focus on.

While on facebook I came across a post by United Nations (UN) - Kenya that was shared by my sister Nakirya Shallot and it drew my attention. In this post, the UN was offering free training to Passion Driven individuals in East Africa. Once you Qualify, they take you to one of their Bases in Europe and turn you into a professional while they pay you. Here is the post

Click here to view the real post

"YOU ARE NEEDED: Are you an active and passion driven adult male or female living in East Africa with passion to live your dream of profession? Then we urge you to seize this opportunity to be part of the UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES designed just for you. Applicants to be trained in Health,Agriculture,security,IT,construction ETC. at either our Canada Camp or USA camp depending on your choice of country. Interested Applicants should contact us at: (undp@un.or.ke) for more details"

This advert drew my attention and it serves as a perfect example for this post. So what should we always look for when trying to identify Internet fraud.

  • The offer itself
  • Who is offering
  • Contact Details

The offer

Now I don't know how much I can emphasize this but if you ever come across a post or an offer that is too good to be true, do not forget to think thrice. Now let's focus on our model offer. Let's go bit by bit

YOU ARE NEEDED: Are you an active and passion driven adult male or female living in East Africa with passion to live your dream of profession?

I have known European organizations for sponsoring Africans but they always put boundaries on their offers. This is not a must but in most cases they do put boundaries like age group, gender, specialization, education level, Physical location and so many more. Now our post here is leaving most of the boundaries open. They set an age boundary, they want adults (Of course those are the one with the money) and yet most sponsorship go to the young/youth. Why select Adults? That's a RED FLAG. And they also set a physical location boundary, East Africa. But we all know this is UN-Kenya. Why would UN use its Kenyan Branch to run an East African Program? I say they put East Africa in order to increase the number of people applying. Another RED FLAG. They also left the profession part very wide open which is very very rare when it comes to scholarships. This is how they specified the professions "Health, Agriculture, security, IT, construction ETC". Really? UN saying ETC Really? Another RED FLAG.

Now when analyzing a fraudulent post, always look out for the part where they make you become interested. This is the part where everything becomes too good to be true.

".... construction ETC. at either our Canada Camp or USA camp depending on your choice of country."

In other words the UN is not organized. They have setup camps in Canada and USA all doing the same things. They do not care if everyone chooses to go to Canada. After all, both camps are identical and they are all training the same specializations. Does this even make sense to anyone??? Another RED FLAG.

Who is offering

In this case we have a formidable organization making the offer. United Nations Kenya – UN . I have nothing much to say about this because we all know UN does exist in Kenya. Now this takes us to the most interesting part .

Which UN in Kenya are we dealing with?

Chances are, we are dealing with the real UN of Kenya or The Virtual UN - Kenya of Facebook. The best way to find out is by analyzing their contact details.

Contact Details

Contact details are very important when detecting online fraud. It takes a very organized thief to cover all of their tracks online. So how does this work?

First we look at the provided contact details and compare them with the details of the organization they are pretending to be. In this case we are not so lucky or we can say they were bright. They made sure they don't provide so much detail in order to make comparisons hard. Another RED FLAG. In such cases, you have to dig deep in the little you have. But do not worry they gave us their email and we shall capitalize on that.

"Interested Applicants should contact us at: (undp@un.or.ke) for more details"

And that's their email. undp@un.or.ke . First lets understand the meaning of the two segments of an email. Emails are made up of USER-NAME @ WEBSITE .

The User name is what identifies a user on a given domain (website name). So it goes without mentioning that their website is www.un.or.ke . Now when you go that website (Because we are looking for more contact details like physical location, Contact Numbers and the rest) You get a welcoming message that says "Website Under Construction" Bwahahahah Are we laughing together on this?? The UN of Kenya does not have a website Woow. A BIG RED FLAG.

Now a website can be under construction for many reasons.

  • Its new
  • They are updating it
  • It crashed and its being revamped

Now to narrow down my options (Of course I want to know why they have no website) I did more digging on the domain name www.un.or.ke . Being a website designer at XiPH Limited and having worked with domain names and websites for so long, I knew what to do to get more information on this domain name.

You can always go to www.whois.com/whois/un.or.ke . that link will tell you everything you need to know about that website. Who owns it, when was it created, when will it expire in which country is it hosted and so on and so forth.  Now this is what I found their

Creation Date: 2016-07-16T20:31:55.194Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2017-07-16T20:31:55.243Z
Sponsoring Registrar: Kenya Website Experts

Now what more are we looking for here? This website was registered last month (July 2016) on 16th . Is this thing still making sense to anyone? UN Began began operations in Kenya last month? To make it worse, it was registered for a period of one year. Domain name registration for a period of one year costs only $9 and that's all the UN-Kenya could afford.

We also finally got the contact details of the owner of the website but do we still need them?

Sponsoring Registrar Address: P.O. Box 12198 - 00400 Nairobi
Sponsoring Registrar Country: KE
Sponsoring Registrar Phone: +254.722209414

Sometimes you find organized institutions who have green flags on every check point. Ie a cool website , legit contact details and offices. So what do you do? Just copy the website and paste it in google and add the word "reviews". This will look up what other people have said about the website and their activities. If people are saying good things about it, then you are good to go. Else , dig deeper and find out who is fooling who.

You may be wondering,

"So how do they make money from this?"

Well, they will first ask you show interest. Then they will make everything look simple and straight forward before they ask you to buy an application form or anything like that. Its usually little money around 15,000 UGX but let's imagine this, at the point of writing this post, that advert has 1500 people commenting with their phone numbers and 5700 people like the post. That is a total of 7200 interested individuals and that's only on facebook.

Which means the number could double if we looked at the same advert on other social networking platforms. If only 3000 applicants made it all the way and made payments, that would be 45,000,000 un-taxed.

Keep your eyes open Pals and if anything confuses you just send it to me. My email is et@elite.ug (+256-774655998) and that also goes for u my dear sister Shallot. Do not sign up for online things before you ask me. I remain your big bro.

And for the rest, remember Jesus will never punish you for not clicking "Like" on his photo on Facebook and before you click "Play" on that porn video on facebook, try to look at the number of views it has. If you can point your Pointer on those views and the pointer turns into a cursor, Then I it's a legit Video. Else, it's just an image with a play button in the middle designed to take you to a phishing website.

I remain yours truly Tabula Emmanuel

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  • 08 Aug, 2016
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