Michael's Metaphors of Life Journal header image 2

Cyber Scammers: The “Almost Certainly” Rule

September 2nd, 2023 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, it may be the Wild, Wild Cyber West but the same principle applies to protect ourselves.

It is an almost daily occurrence now – communications by text message that aim to defraud us or take advantage of our trusting nature. Case in point: text messages I received recently.

Scotiabank: As a result of new online security measures, a temporary hold has been placed on your access card starting with 45360. For help reactivating your card, please visit (URL).

Canada Post: We’ve made an attempt to deliver your parcel today but couldn’t get a signature release from you. We can reattempt to deliver your parcel tomorrow once the delivery fee is paid. Please click this link (URL).

Netflix: Your payment cannot be completed. To keep access to the service please visit (URL) to update your payment.

The perpetrators of the first scam have obviously figured out that all or many Scotiabank access cards start with those five numbers. The perpetrators of the Netflix scam are taking advantage of the wide use of Netflix (I’m in the minority who don’t use it.) And the perpetrators of the Canada Post scam are leveraging the online ordering trend knowing that at any one time thousands of people receiving the message will be waiting for a delivery.

Financial investment frauds top the list of highest losses with people losing on average $150,000. But increasingly, what the scammers are after is personal information – passwords and other sensitive information – that they can use for blackmail, identify theft, publishing fake ads or targeting others on your contact list.

The scammers are increasingly opportunistic. A new scam is circulating relating to the Canadian federal government grocery rebate: To receive your payment, click here and complete the form.

The sad reality is that there is very little law enforcement can do to track down cyber scammers. From what I have read, at most 1% of them are apprehended and prosecuted. So it is up to us an individuals to know when to hit delete.

A few “almost certainly” rules to follow to protect yourself :

  • If it seems too good to be true (i.e. financial scams), it almost certainly is not true.
  • If it plays on your insecurities about online data (i.e. your bank access card has been comprised), it almost certainly is not true.
  • If the communication is from someone you do not know, it is almost certainly someone you do not want to know.
  • If there is a URL link in the text communication, it is almost certainly a doorway to fraud.
  • If it involves cryptocurrency – No almost in this case. It is certainly a direct siphon into your bank account.

The cyber world that has come into being in the last half century is the new Wild, Wild West. But the old metaphor still applies with just a slight tweak: Beware of cyber wolves in virtual sheep clothing. Apply the almost certainly rule to protect yourself.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at .

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

Tags:   · · · No Comments