Thursday, September 22, 2016

Razzle but No Dazzle

                   Razzle but No Dazzle   By: Jim Silvania

Razzle has come to the world of Private Investigation and Software Development via a variation of a Nigerian Scam.

Razzle is an old carnival game of skill or chance in which an individual pays money for a chance at a prize. The most common version of this illegal game seen at carnivals is football. Eight marbles sized balls are given to the player in a cup to roll out onto a playfield board this has holes for the marbles to go into. Numbers are assigned to each hole and totaled up as yardage for football or miles for a car race. At first the operator cheats in favor of the player by fast counting and makes it appear that the player is winning. The operator then entices the player to continue to play as he or she is close to winning the grand prize. When the player continues the operator no longer cheats for the player and the astronomical odds of winning take over. Winning the local lottery or Power Ball has better odds.

So let’s apply this the scam to a mythical case and a factious PI named Michael Singh. Mr. Singh claims to be highly educated spyware developer who assist individuals and private investigators install spyware on cell phones. He advertises that he can do that from his office and does not have to have the cell phone in his possession. All he needs is that individual supply him with the target’s telephone number. This mythical PI can be reached at Michael Singh or by messaging him on his cell phone at 302/ 317-1108. He even supplies his customer with false identification in an attempt to verify his reality.

First you pay upfront the cost of the software, followed by his fee for installing the software. Once that you have forwarded those funds to Ile-Ife, Nigeria address additional charges soon follow:

“I am presently done with your job but the Results came out in Encrypted form.
Cases like this are common these days.
Because the target in question always encrypts his/her number so that information would not r accessible.
But then I already got in touch with the hacker I work with.And to decrypt the results, it usually cost 105$.
But the good new is that decryption takes only 45mins. After which the results would be in plain words understandable to humans.
So presently you would need to make a payment of 105$.let me know wen you get this so I forward you the information of the hacker”; and so on and so forth or until the client runs out of money.

When the client complains he is threatened by Mr. Singh who states he develops spyware for the IRS and knows people who will get you.

“I cannot make the refunds because I already purchased the spyware and used it for the job and I would be sending your results like that to you in code so you figure out how to decrypt it, which would cost you close to 4times the amount I told you. I work with the IRS as their spyware developer and I know a lot of people.”

             If that’s not enough, days later the scam continues when you get an email from a Nigerian Private Investigative Agency, Augustus Hall Ltd. claiming that for additional funds they can solve your problems with Mr. Singh and get your previous investment with Mr. Singh refunded.

Every PI has had a client who has been scammed or been requested to follow-up on a Nigerian Scam but this is the first one I have come across which was directly related to our industry. Forewarned is forearmed so please be advised.