Skip to main content

Out phishing…

‘I’m still shaking. I just can’t believe it,’ my father tells me on the phone. After a quick shower, I return to see 30 unread messages on my screen. It turns out he has been scammed out of EUR 1 000. Someone claiming to be his daughter was asking for help. What on Earth is wrong with people?

You’ve probably heard about ‘phishing’. Beloved family members saying they can’t make a payment, an African prince wants to share his inheritance with you etc. Dreadful schemes driven by selfishness and a convenient disconnect with society. Often, the elderly are targeted as they are most likely to believe the fraudsters.

Sadly, my father is now a victim. A man known as a level-headed guy who doesn’t take risks. I guess it only takes a moment to let down your guard and get into trouble. We all think it won’t happen to us – but no one is bulletproof, are we?

We’ve seen a fair share of fraud cases and other illicit affairs in the recycling industry. Companies filling shipping containers with worthless material like bricks and trash. Valuable scrap getting ‘lost’ in transit. Converter theft with an ‘inside man’ in the scrap industry. Savvy executives issuing fake packaging recovery notes for material that was never received. Stolen scrap paid for in cash – a practice now banned in most countries.

An American customer of online second-hand clothing marketplace Reskinned lost her life savings in November. She phoned to book a collection time slot and everything seemed fine. The next morning, she woke up to a virtually empty bank account. US$ 80 000 (EUR 73 500) was missing. Gone, just like that.

Fraudsters are getting more ballsy, too. In this case, the victim was duped by clicking on an ‘advertisement’ displayed on Facebook as an official take-back campaign. They built a backdoor into the fake recycling website so they could remotely hack her phone, turning off her banking notifications in the process.

Imagine thinking you’re making an appointment to donate your old clothes only to find 24 cents left in your account. I can’t imagine the anxiety.

The copycat Reskinned crooks later rebranded as Reborn Tops, pretty much doing the same thing, again advertising on social media. Several users flagged the post after suspicious interactions. The ‘campaign’ was promptly banned. I wonder how many people fell for it before realising their mistake?

Cybercrime, specifically phishing, now costs large companies upwards of US$ 15 million per year. The number of attacks quadrupled from 2015-2021, according to researchers at the Ponemon Institute.

In a world tightly woven together by technology, we have to be alert at all times. The arrival of AI technology, which can manipulate not just photos and videos but also audio content, further underscores this. E-mails can be cloned, and now faces and voices.

What’s next?

Unless you’re meeting someone in real life, you just don’t know who you’re dealing with.

Don't hesitate to contact us to share your input and ideas. Subscribe to the magazine or (free) newsletter.

You might find this interesting too

Welcome our Top 100 newcomers!
What’s the best solution for dirty nappies?
Royal fashion statement goes a long way

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe now and get a full year for just €169 (normal rate is €225) Subscribe