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IT specialist says better options to scamming needed | #socialmedia | #hacking | #aihp



POWE… the technology is easy and readily available

Information technology expert Craig Powe says the Government will have to paint a more attractive picture of the morally correct and legal nine-to-five job, as with Jamaica’s economic reality, scamming will seem like it’s the better option to many youngsters.

Powe’s call follows the Sunday Observer story last week in which Morin Seymour, former executive director of the Kingston Restoration Company (KRC) and chairman of the board of governors of Central Branch Primary School, called for strategic efforts to prevent youth from “chopping the line.”

“Let’s do the math on a scam. If I beat poverty, graduate from high school, go to university, study hard, go to work, work hard and graduate, maybe I get a job earning $150,000 a month. If I buy a phone now, spend some time reading Facebook profiles, call 100 old people, get through to five and two of them bite. One sends me US$7,000 and the other sends me US$6,000. I would have made more than the best of what Jamaica is offering to a bright, young Jamaican in a year, in one month,” Powe told the Sunday Observer in an interview.

“The technology is easy and readily available. I think the country has to do more that is attractive to give people a chance; for the average person to earn and live a decent life. Otherwise, you will see more Jamaicans buying phones and using Google to get their piece of the US$1 billion worth of stolen gold that has come to our shores.”

On June 1, in a contribution by National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang’s to the Sectoral Debate in Gordon House, he underscored an annual inflow of US$1 billion in Jamaica through lottery scamming and warned that the repercussions could severely hamper the country.

Powe said scamming is a young person living in a country’s education, as access to a quality job is hard to get.

“What does Jamaica have in common with Nigeria, Cote d’Iovre and Brazil? All three of these countries have a GDP per capita under the average amount of liquid savings that an American old person has at age 65 to 69. Meaning, according to board of governors from the federal reserve system in their 2019 study, Grandma Betty sitting in Florida might just be sitting on $206,819.35.

“And that’s not the choice that most people are making. They are making it between a low-skilled job and a low value trade, where the reward is blood, sweat and tears and no Honda, versus a lucrative field where the reward is a BMW on toll road in sport mode.”

Technology wise, Powe told the Sunday Observer that scamming is easy.

“A phone cost US$40 (about $6,000). A Facebook profile is free. You just need some creativity and an American accent, and you can start making US$10,000 a month if you are good, a million a year if you are great, and US$12,000 a year if you’re horrible. In every account, you are most likely better off than if you had competed in the formal job market,” he said.

“From Facebook, I can social engineer and talk about people that you know to make myself seem real. From Instagram and Google Maps, I can look at the locations that are nearby to places you would frequent and your children frequent. I can issue threats really easy if I say, ‘Your daughter at Florida State is being watched, send the money now or else.’ The same technology that governments around the world are trying to push to allow for economic freedom also means an unlimited number of ways to create scams.”

From obtaining a headset, a computer, social media accounts and a VPN to trick websites to think your device is in a different location or country, Powe estimated that it may cost an individual just about $28,000.

Meanwhile, he said the cost of a degree from UWI per annum ranges from $306,000 and starting salary per month locally is around $75,000 a month.

“That’s basics. I am sure the very intelligent scammer is doing some sort of technological wizardry that allows him to escape the radar and make far more money. It’s pretty clear which one is more attractive. And for all that hard work and you do a year at a low skill job or trade, your best bet is somewhere above that. And there is a guy in your community who you feel is no smarter than you, no more creative, but he is making more.

“You are taking the bus and he is buying a car. You are having sleepless nights and he is partying. What do you do? Maybe you reach a stage where you are making enough money to buy a car for your girl but you see a man buy a Benz for himself and an Audi for his girl. And you think the same thing, ‘What the hell am I doing?’ And you learn that if you call 500 white, old ladies in America, most will hang up but maybe five will answer and out of those, two will send you some money. It’s an extremely attractive field.”

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