How easy is it for a scammer to fake stuff?

It’s a common question we get asked, and the answer is a resounding “very”.  Let’s take a few things and explain why they’re so easy.

A phone number – There is literally “an app for that” when it comes to spoofing phone numbers.  I made a video about a year ago showing my mobile phone being called by what appeared to be the White House.  If you haven’t seen it, here it is:

Email addresses – Now this one has multiple ways of being achieved, but can be done by something as simple as putting an email address into the name of the email account.  If I use theprez@thewhitehouse.com as my name on a different account rather than an actual name, people would see that and assume it was coming from that address.  See, I said it was simple.

A photo – Image manipulation software has been around for years, with the most well known being Photoshop to the point that altered images are quite often referred to as having been “Photoshopped”.

A voice – Again, with nothing as complicated as a voice morphing app, you can change your voice to sound completely different.  Scammers love using them to sound female, and Slaphappy loves using it to sound like a chipmunk.

Webcam – The software to fool programs like Skype into seeing a different input as a webcam has been around for at least a dozen years now, and was one of my favourite tools back in 2006/2007 as part of my dealing with scammers from the Philippines.  Throw in some screen capturing software and you have the sextortionist’s toolkit.  It’s not rocket science, and it doesn’t take a master hacker to do it, no matter what the scammers say.

See, it’s not difficult.  Most of the tools have been around for years.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to fake stuff.  In most cases, all it takes is a bit of free software.

What can YOU do about scams?

Not everyone can set up a website, join a campaign or appear on TV talking about scams.  There’s a much simpler option out there, and that’s to simply talk about scams.  Talk about them with your family and friends.  It doesn’t cost anything, and if you don’t want to say you were scammed then you don’t have to.  “Did you see that program on TV?” or “Have you heard about that scam that’s doing the rounds at the moment?” is all you need to open up the subject.  Not everyone knows about scams, and someone who may know about one type may not know about another.  Discussing it may save someone you know from losing a fortune, so what’s stopping you?