Today, I received a spam email with the subject line “please access and transfer your remaining funds”.
The body of the email claimed that the funds had been credited to my user-account and the transaction had been approved.
Apparently, to receive my funds – listed at around $5000 AUD – I just needed to click a “Complete Transfer” button.
The email I received is just one of many such “funds credited’ messages that I have seen in recent months. Details, such as the transfer instructions and the supposed account balance varies in different versions of the spam emails.
Of course, I don’t really have several thousand dollars sitting ready to claim in some online account I know nothing about.
So what are these emails about? In fact, they are designed solely to lure you to a website that attempts to trick you into participating in a binary options scam.
Once on the website, you will be confronted with an autoplay promotional video that promises that you will make hundreds of thousands of dollars within just a few weeks if you sign up. The video, which includes the YouTube logo but isn’t actually on YouTube, features fake users extolling the virtues of the system and showing off fake transaction records that seemingly show the vast sums of money that they have made.
The rest of the site is filled with hyped up nonsense, fake charts and transaction records, and bogus testimonials that are all designed to fool you into signing up for the – supposedly free – system.
Despite all the hype and guarantees of riches, the site includes the following “Earnings Disclaimer”. The link to the disclaimer is located on the site’s footer where most site visitors will not see it:
THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT YOU WILL EARN ANY MONEY USING THE TECHNIQUES AND IDEAS IN THESE MATERIALS. EXAMPLES IN THESE MATERIALS ARE NOT TO BE INTERPRETED AS A PROMISE OR GUARANTEE OF EARNINGS
In fact, the system being promoted on the site is a binary options scam. People who fall for the hype and sign up, will certainly not make the large amounts of money that the site promises. Some users may make a small return on their initial investment, but most will make no profit at all.
Initially, your account may display what appears to be a series of successful trades. But, these are likely to be fake and are designed to trick you into investing more money, which you will ultimately lose. And, these schemes make it almost impossible to withdraw any of the money you have invested.
The Australian Government’s ScamWatch website explains binary options scams as follows:
Binary options involve predicting the movements of commodity, asset or index prices over a short time. Although they may be a legitimate financial product with many licenced firms trading in them, binary options are speculative, high risk products that are almost impossible to predict, even for professionals. There are groups of scammers who use binary options to steal your money.
These scammers use high-pressure sales tactics to try and convince you to invest in a trading account, making claims that the system is simple and high profits are guaranteed. If you agree, they direct you to a website with a login, account details and the trading platform. They put your money into the account and demonstrate a number of successful trades to encourage you to invest greater sums of money.
Once invested in the scheme, victims have reported that their money begins to disappear quickly. When they try to withdraw from the scheme, they find it impossible to get their money out of the account. The scammer does everything they can to keep the victim in the program but inevitably they stop taking the victim’s calls and, after a short period of time, it is common for the firms to disappear.
As with other types of spam, the best thing to do with these emails is hit the “delete” button.