Fool me twice, shame on me
There is a well-known quote which can be used to describe scams that have been happening repeatedly recently: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” And it seems like this is what we have to say to those who get fooled on a regular basis. I cannot believe how there are constantly news about people getting conned. The Çiftlik Bank case seems to have opened the Pandora’s box. Maybe the victims of various types of scams were too scared to talk before, but after seeing how much coverage Çiftlik Bank got, they all decided to speak up. The stories have been pouring in.
In the latest con, a group had sent thousands of SMS messages in which they pretended to be banks granting the receiving end of the messages credits. If the receiver replied, the group then asked them to send a certain amount of money to an account to complete the transactions. Through this method, they swindled 2 million Turkish Liras from 5,000 people.
A day before that, Anadolu Farm, a replica of Çiftlik Bank, was on the news. They almost got away with swindling 200 million liras out of people. They were caught while trying to run away from the country just after an hours-long TV interview where they said they are doing legal work and would never leave the country. A day before that, there was another kind of method on the news. A con artist had made people believe that if they sent him money and kept their personal computers on for a few hours, they would earn immense amounts in return. He made people believe that with a program that he would upload onto their computers they would take part in a SEO project for clients like DHL.
It has also been reported that the victims of Çiftlik Bank were conned once more by people who claimed that they could get their money back. It is estimated that more than 1,600 people were fooled to give 500 liras more each.
The latest fad is an app that people use to see how other people have saved their numbers. The most famous is Get Contact, which shares the contact information of its members’ phone books with everyone, so that you can look up under which name others have saved your number. People began sharing this on social media. The people who do this are neither uneducated nor social media illiterate. That is why I cannot believe how these things are happening. How can people get outraged at Facebook and Google sharing their information with third parties and at the same time share their contact information with unknown applications?
I am confused, but I am also very angry at these people. Because I am sure that my phone number, my name and surname are shared through these types of mobile applications. I am sure that at least 50 percent of the unwanted calls and adverts I get on my phone is because of these people.
Now that these applications have gone mainstream, the Information and Communications Technologies Authority (BTK) started an investigation into 25 different applications.
I have written this last week as well but the only way to not fall for these types of phishing scams and Ponzi schemes is to think more critically and learn more about technology.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article mistakenly used the name of Anadolu Farm, causing confusion over the name of the Turkish bank. The Hürriyet Daily News regrets this error