Just the other day, I got a Whatsapp text from an unknown individual: His name, Hoe Zong Huan (Link to his LinkedIn profile, https://www.linkedin.com/in/hoe-zong-huan-a832b9147/).
He aimed to lure me into signing up for a Regional Directors Conference 2019, which would take place in Singapore according to him.
I was glad about the invitation as any person would do. However, I had to ask a few questions to find out more about this event that he was organizing.
He could not answer my questions, and all he was asking for was my business card. I sent a screenshot of my business card, which had all the information about me. Nonetheless, he was still hesitant in answering my question.
Since he was in the process of organizing the conference, I thought it was wise that he finalizes with it first before contacting anyone.
With all the questions that he asked me, I felt something was off about him. Maybe this event would never happen. He was still insisting that I give him every detail about me, which is something we need to talk about today.
I suspect that he was trying to phish private information about me for his purposes, maybe, the collection of databases.
What is this collection of data for databases?
Have you ever received a call or an email from a person or organization that you did not know, and you wondered where they got all your personal information?
Most of the times, these marketing companies are right. You may be in need of that product or service that you require. In addition to that, they will offer discounts, and that is what lures you to contact them.
Nevertheless, where do they get all your data?
You have to be very alert when carrying out transactions or filling forms whenever you are online. The reason for this is that websites, including popular social media sites, use that information to sell it to marketing companies.
Marketing companies, especially those that deal with cold calling, need such information to call prospects that would have interest in buying their product and services.
Recently, Facebook was in court because there was a data breach in a deal that went sour between them and Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook, in their defense, did not sell any personal information to the company; they say that the third party company found a loophole in their APIs, which they used to steal all the user information that Facebook holds dearly
Is this type of data collection legal?
It is, definitely, not right. Most countries, especially developed ones, have laws that guide large enterprises such as Google and Facebook against sharing their user’s personal information to third party companies.
By the way, if these sites should sell their user’s data, then it would be right for the user to claim some form of compensation, which explains the reason Facebook defended itself.
Google found itself in such a situation where there was a data breach, and they had to pay huge fines in the form of millions of dollars.
Therefore, anytime a social media site or any website attempts to sell your personal information, they should consult the user.
What made me identify him as a fraud?
You have to be careful when dealing with anyone on the online platform. Not everyone is genuine. Therefore, what are some of the things that raised my eyebrows?
1. He asked for my data without explaining the details about the event. At the start of the conversation, he insisted that I give him my name, title, company, industry, email, website, and my contact number. Third party companies ask for this data. I believe that the information was enough to make some money to marketing companies.
2. The individual did not give me any information about the conference. I asked him about this, and he ignored that statement. He insisted that he wanted to know me.
3. His online profile is fake. I dug deeper into his activities online. To my surprise, I found that his social media profile on LinkedIn is not legit.
Additionally, I decided to check some of the experiences he has. He says that he is the founder of Earlybird. There is no details about this company in the Internet. Besides that, I clicked on the yachtsinsingapore.com, and it was not a surprise to find that the site is not up to standard. From the content and the pages, everything is merely a miss, which means that the site was a pseudo website meant to lure people into thinking that he rents out yachts.
If in any case, you get a text from Hoe Zong Huan, be sure to ignore it at all costs, since he is collecting all the data for databases, which will earn money for him without your knowledge and permission.
Our conversation did not end well since he also threatened to sue me if I reveal this to anyone. He threatened me several times.
In conclusion, be careful when signing up for anything on the internet. Carry out some research beforehand to protect yourself from providing critical information about yourself.