How To Spot A Scam Bank Email

One common feature of most Nigerian scam emails is the lack of sophistication. They are fraught with grammatical errors and typos. The perpetrators of these scam emails are usually not very educated.

Their lack of sophistication is a good thing. It makes us spot a scam email easily from afar. Many of us have survived thus far because of this.

However, we are witnessing a new crop of “scammers” that are more technologically savvy and much more sophisticated. Grammar is no longer an issue and they are extremely good in writing malicious scripts (softwares).

All hope is not lost though.

Let’s review a scam email that was sent to me earlier this week. We will try to point out the red flags to look out for. With this, we can keep ourselves educated.

My comments in Bold Red.



From: GTBank <>  Sender’s email address is not from domain. Even if it is, it could be faked by a technique called EMAIL SPOOFING.
Date: Mon, Apr 04, 2016 at 9:22 PM
Subject: Customer Update Alert
To: <*******> The scammer was smart enough to send the mail to me directly and not BCC. But this email is not associated with any of my bank accounts!


Dear customer GTBank sends out personalised emails, with your name in full.

Guaranty Trust Bank eLectronic Notification Service (GeNS)

We wish to inform you that your account with us is due for an update.
Kindly login and update your details:

https:/www.gtbank/ibank3/customer-update/ This hyperlink masks the malicious site I was expected to click on. The URL was further masked using a URL shortening service. However, the link will lead you to where a cloned version of GTBank internet banking site is hosted. 

Please update within 24 Hours of notice to avoid Service Interuption/Suspension.

Thank you for choosing Guaranty Trust Bank plc
alert “Your Internet Banking user ID and password, ATM card number and PIN are confidential and should never be disclosed to anyone”.
Kindly log on to our website hyperlink leads to a cloned gtbank internet banking site hosted on  OR
Call GTConnect on 0700 GTConnect (0809 7393494), 01 328 0000, for more information.
Our notification service sent this mail to you using a default setting and the information you supplied to us when your account was opened.
If you wish to Iimit the type of mails you receive or the email address(es) in use, please send an email to us by clicking on the link below:
Send a Mail to Guaranty Trust Bank eLectronic Notification Service (GeNS)
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Guess Who’s Back!

Yes, back on the Blackberry chat platform but on an Android device. The best of two worlds you would say.

Finally, Blackberry resumed the rollout of the now cross platform BBM messaging services, opening up the much sought after service to the world.

Still a bit put off by the staggered rollout though. For reasons not very clear, Blackberry has created a virtual waiting line, adding subscribers only in batches – probably trying to test the impact of the deluge of subscribers on its servers. But, thankfully, i had pre-registered my email address on and that did guarantee my being among the first set of people to try out the this chat platform on a non-Blackberry device.

Configuring the app on my Samsung S3 was a breeze. And by adding your email address, all your BBM chat contacts are migrated seamlessly to your new Android phone.

Not much of the chatty type though but it sure feels good to be on Sub Saharan Africa’s – and soon to be – the World’s most popular chat platform.

My choice of BBM on Android is majorly because of privacy concerns – I do not have to give out my phone number to chat with anyone. All i need do is to exchange PIN. Perfect!

Perhaps it is the best decision to unbundle the golden goose that is BBM from the dying Blackberry as, obviously, the service is quite popular. Even Blackberry did not anticipate the number of people willing to latch on to its chat services.

I do predict a steady decline in the number of active users on the other chat platforms because of the cult followership Blackberry chat has in Africa and Asia. And yes, we do have the numbers!




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Android Lock Screens, Which Option Has the Best Security?

Mobile devices are real gateways into our lives. By accessing someone’s phone, you could potentially see their email, text messages, call log, what they been taking pictures of, contact list, browsing history and any notes or to-do lists they may have.

Think about that for a minute. If somebody, a complete stranger, were to access your phone, would you be comfortable with them having access to all of the information they could get from your phone?

Securing your Android phone or tablet is actually quite easy. The Android OS offers a few different options to secure it so that no one will have access to your information. I am going to briefly cover what the different Android lock screen options are and which one holds the most security.

To access the security options from the home screen, go to the “device settings–>Location and security–>Set up screen lock“.


The part of security process you might want to give a little thought to is how long your screen is accessible before the screen locks. The times can range anywhere from immediately when the screen turns off all the way up to about 20 minutes. For someone who has a lot of text message conversations, perhaps a longer security lock timer might be in order. However, someone who has a lot of sensitive information on the phone would be better off setting the screen lock timer to engage as soon as the screen shuts off. I’ve found that setting the Android screen lock somewhere between two and five minutes works well for my uses.



The PIN is nothing more than a 4 to 16 digit number to be entered so the screen unlocks. This is similar to your ATM PIN. Obviously, the longer the PIN is, the harder it will be for someone to guess. However, the longer it is, the more inconvenience it is to type in each time you want to see who emailed you or reply to a text message.



The password option on your Android is just like any other app (email, Facebook, etc.) you would have a password for. The password needs to be at least four characters long and contain one letter. The benefit of using a password is there are more characters available such as exclamation points, an asterisk, upper and lowercase letters and so on.

Again, you will want a unique, strong password containing several different types of characters. Typically you want it longer than four characters for strength purposes. Using a password will bring about a similar problem as PIN number. The longer and more secure the password, the more of an inconvenience it will be to type in each time.


Pattern lock

A pattern lock is something the Android OS brought to the market a while back. A pattern lock is nothing more than connecting the dots on the screen to make a pattern. As simple as it sounds, unless somebody sees you unlocking your phone, there’s no real way for them to guess what your pattern is. You have the option to make the pattern as long as you can remember (until all of the 9 dots are used) and as short as connecting four dots.


The pattern lock has a couple of additional settings to it. The first is “Use visible pattern”. This will show the pattern as you are tracing it out on the screen. Not ideal for security, because anyone looking at your screen has a good chance of picking out what your pattern is. The second option is tactile feedback. This is the vibration of your phone as you’re touching the screen.


Choosing the best option to secure your Android

For maximum security, the Password option coupled with a 16 characters alphanumeric password is definitely the best. Following up is the PIN with 16 digits and the last is the Pattern Lock. What I found is that if you are consistently swiping the same pattern to unlock the phone, it tends to leave a deep smudge on your screen protector that anyone can guess your pattern easily. Also, it is easier for people to remember patterns than string of characters. Take a minute and the people beside you unlocking their phone and you will understand what I mean. Of course, for a clean phone without any smudge, the Pattern lock can be as powerful as the Password or PIN option as well.

When it comes to the ease of use, the Pattern Lock is the obvious winner, followed by the PIN and the Password.

The best option is really up to you and your individual needs with your Android. When picking a method to secure Android, there needs to be a balance of security and ease of use. If you’re somebody who sends a lot of text messages and emails, a shorter password or PIN might be easier than a longer PIN or password.

In my opinion (and that of the FBI), the pattern lock is the best option based on both ease-of-use and security. When setting up a pattern, I would recommend setting something up that is easily repeatable with one hand. This way if you need to access your phone, you have a greater chance of unlocking it single-handedly.

Final thought

Overall, any type of security is better than no security at all. Depending on the type of information you store, you might want to consider stronger security over the ease-of-use. Think of how your life could be affected by someone gaining access to the personal information accessible through your phone and gauge which Android lock screen option you deem necessary.


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Bypassing Android’s Pattern Lock Is A Piece Of Cake

Android introduced a very different kind of entry protection in 2008. Named Pattern Lock, it allowed users to swipe in a specific way across 9 dots to unlock their smartphone. It is arguably easier to input and technically much more secure than a 4 digit PIN code.

But, as time went by, people found ways to bypass it. The first method I’ve heard of is actually pretty simple: if your fingers are the least bit oily, they will leave smudges in line with the pattern you use to unlock the phone or tablet. If an intruder, then, observes the smudges, they may be able to gain access to your device. The second method is to just go by trial and error as, in my own personal experience, I’ve noticed a lot of people use letters of the alphabet (such as V, D, U, O, etc., alphabets that can be easily recreated in the pattern lock).

Now, the methods I’ve mentioned above aren’t the best when it comes to results. We’ve come across two technical ways of bypassing the pattern lock.

The two technical ways in question have been developed by m.sabra over on XDA-Developers. They require your Android device to have USB Debugging enabled from Settings > Security and that you have installed ADB on your computer.

The first method changes the value of variables lock_pattern_autolock  and lockscreen.lockedoutpermanently to 0. The second simply deletes gesture.key under /data/system.

If one of them doesn’t work, the developer suggests running the first one, rebooting, running the second one, rebooting to bypass the Android lock screen.

For detailed instructions, you can check out the official thread on XDA-Developers. The commands required are scarily simple and, overall, the two workarounds are very simple to apply.

So, what can you do to protect yourself from such sorcery? Simple – Ensure USB Debugging is disabled on your device when not in use.

NOTE : This article is strictly for educational purposes – To inform you about how you can get access to your own phone in case you forget the pattern and also how your device can be compromised. We are not to be held responsible if this method gets used for nefarious purposes.