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Issue 121 - December 2011 - Page 1

Bogus Warning - Scammers Asking for Baby Details to Claim Benefits in Your Children's Names

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Outline
Warning circulating on Facebook claims that mothers are being asked to post details of their children, such as name, birth date and weight at birth, so that scammers can falsely claim benefits in the children's names.



Brief Analysis
The claims in the warning are spurious. The small amount of information outlined in the message is not enough for scammers to claim benefits in your children's names. There are no credible reports about a scam campaign like the one described in this warning. While it is certainly important that people are careful about what personal information they post online, spreading misleading and inaccurate warnings such as this will help no one.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 24th November 2011
First published: 24th November 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
Research by Steve Williamson , David White and Brett Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
WARNING!!! there is a post going around asking mothers to post their kids details to show their love for their children- example- baby boy ( name), born 10.10.10 weighing 7.10lb! do not do this! its a scam for ppl to claim benefits in your children's names! copy, paste and forward on

Child details scammer warning




Detailed Analysis
This Facebook driven message warns you to watch out for a post that asks for details of your children such as their date of birth, birth weight, name and gender. According to the warning, scammers are asking for such details so that they can fraudulently claim benefits in your children's name. The message does not specify which country these scammers are supposedly operating from.

However, the claims in the warning are spurious. Regardless of where the scammers live in the world, they would need a lot more information than the basic details outlined in the message to effectively claim government benefits in the name of other people's children. Generally speaking, to apply for a benefit, a claimant requires considerable supporting documentation, including a birth certificate for the child and other items such as proof of ID for the claimant. The scammers could certainly not just front up to their local social security office and hand over a few details about a child and thereby successfully lodge a claim for child benefits.

Nor would the details requested be enough, by themselves, to apply for a birth certificate or other documentation in the child's name that could be successfully used by the scammers in fraudulent claims. And no benefits office is likely to switch child payments to another person without confirming the change with the original recipient and thoroughly checking the new applicant's right to claim.

There are no credible news reports that describe a scam campaign that mirrors the one described in the above message.

I am yet to see one of the posts described in the warning message. But, no doubt, such messages do circulate from time to time although they are likely to be entirely harmless.

Moreover, if they were chasing such information, scammers would have no need to fiddle around with silly Facebook messages to get what they were after. Information about new births, including baby names, birth weights, genders and siblings are commonly placed in both printed and online versions of newspapers around the world. Birth announcements with similar details are also included in a great many baby and parenting forums. An hour or so on the Internet could therefore give a scammer all the information he could possibly wish for without the need to risk suspicion by actually asking for it on Facebook.

In fact, if claiming a child benefit was as easy as implied in this message, the scammer could just make up a set of details and go ahead and make a claim at will.

Benefits fraud of various kinds certainly does take place. Social security systems around the world have regularly been defrauded by unscrupulous individuals or groups. But the fact remains that even the cleverest fraudster would need more information than just a child's date of birth, birth weight, name and gender to successfully scam such a system.

Of course, Internet users do need to be cautious and sensible with regard to what personal information they put online, whether it is for themselves or children in their care. But sending on silly and baseless warnings like the one shown above will do nothing more than cause unnecessary alarm among recipients. Reposting it will certainly not help anybody.

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Issue 121 Start Menu

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. Bogus Warning - Scammers Asking for Baby Details to Claim Benefits in Your Children's Names
  2. False Claim - Cardiff City Football Club Refused to Donate Club Shirt for Fallen Soldier's Coffin
  3. Summer Chain Email - Blond Hair And Blood Shot Eyes
  4. Facebook Account Reported Phishing Scam
  5. Christmas Tree App Virus Hoax
  6. Sears Supports Reservist Employees Email Forward
  7. False Claim - Colour Photographs of Hitler Taken by American Life Photographer
  8. Budweiser Frogs Virus Hoax
  9. Phone Text Message Lottery Scams
  10. Skype TopUp Payment PayPal Phishing Scam
  11. Hoax - Mark Zuckerberg Blames Facebook Porn Attack on the Philippines
  12. 'DGTFX Virus' Email Account Phishing Scam
  13. Recent Facebook Porn Attack Highlights Dangers of Misleading 'Security' Warnings
  14. False - Send Christmas Cards for Recovering Soldiers to Queen Elizabeth Hospital
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  17. Facebook 'Virus' Warning - 'Nobody can watch this for more than 15 seconds' Video
  18. Advance Fee Scam - British National Lottery Promo Programme
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  20. Hoax - Albany Bread Poisoned by Staff
  21. PayPal 'Verify to Resolve Account Limitations' Phishing Scam
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  24. False Warning - Red Dot Inside a Red Square On Chocolate Bars Indicates That Product Contains A Pork Derivative
  25. IT Service Desk 'Scheduled Maintenance & Upgrade' Phishing Scam
  26. Abandoned Two Week Old Sydney Baby Prayer Request
  27. Protest Message - Prison Sentence for Spray Painting Poppy on Mosque
  28. Protest Message - Dog Named 'Parrot' Shot by Police
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