In July, I was approached by Lonely_cutie_italian, who, purportedly was in London visiting her mother. This, of course, quickly led to the need for money; but, with two twists; one new, and one not so new.

I am writing this to you in the hopes of helping others.

The not so new; but, dastardly approach, occurs when an IM user starts sharing photos, voice, or a webcam, at which point direct communication is established between the IP Addresses of the people chatting. Unbeknownst to the person targetted, it is not just a bunch of people trying to weasel money; there are also several hackers who immediately start trying to break into the victims computer. This truly raises the stakes in that information for identity theft can be gleaned without the victims knowledge unless they are far more protected than most.

The new twist is also staggering in it's implications in that I was given a London address to send money to and a UK directory search showed it to be a good address and she had given me a valid name for the person living at that house!

This, in spite of the fact that I had reversed the same trick on her (them)(use NETSCAN<enter> in a CMD window to show their ip address) and she was IM'ing me from Lagos, Nigeria.

So, what is going on now is that, not only are there organized groups of chatters and hackers to swindle (or steal) from the victim; they are also an international group so that, had I sent money to London, it would have been routed to Nigeria (probably after London got it's cut)

So, is this scenario scary, or what?

I, BTW have been fixing computers for over 30 years, was lucky enough to have good firewall protection in place; but, did see hundreds of penetration attempts logged when their hackers tried to get me.

Computer-Help.Net for over 30 years now.