The infamous Nigerian fraud gang 419 has discovered Skype, the internet telephony service that allows computer users to talk to each other across the internet for free.
Notorious for it’s development of the ‘advance fee fraud’, 419 have noted the increase in use of systems like Skype by small businesses keen to use the service to reduce their phone costs.
Advance fee fraud usually involves sending unsolicited email, letter or fax asking for help to move millions of pounds from abroad.
Those replying are then contacted by phone and asked for bank account details and for money to help bribe officials to make the transfer and end up losing their cash and any money in their accounts.
Businessmen are favoured targets of 419 due to the likelihood of their having large sums in their bank accounts.
A favourite tactic of 419 is to keep their victim off balance by exploiting anxiety of losing an opportunity and bullying.
The crime gang have instantly picked up on the direct contact that can be made with Skype, one of the system’s great advantages, exploiting it to make quickly home in on their victims.
Skype is one of a number of internet telephony systems – Google, Yahoo and MSN also offer similar services.
The golden rule for internet telephony systems is never to accept any unsolicited communications or contact requests from people you do not know, particularly from other countries – virus writers have already used internet telephony systems to attack computer systems