Defense Against Crime

18/10/2011

Recognizing a Scam

I’ve been speaking about phishing scam during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. When I opened my hotmail account this morning what did I see… a PHISHING SCAM.

Let’ examine the E-mail to see why it is a scam

Clue 1: The sense of urgency

Title: 2HOURS VERIFY THIS EMIL ADDRESS AND YOUR PASSWORD!!!!‏

Why would Microsoft send me an e-mail telling me that I have 2 hours to verify my e-mail and address? One of the typical ploys used by phisher is to put a sense of urgency on the e-mail making you believe that if you do not respond by a set amount of time that there would be consequence. This is one of the reasons I recognize this as a scam. Secondly, Microsoft would not ask me for my password, no company would.

Clue 2: Hidden linked and false e-mails

When you look at the address you will see it is from accountuser63@hotmail.co.uk. This is also a red flag as I am in the United States, so why would someone from the UK e-mail me? However, when I mouse over the address I can see that it is really from reazunnabimuhammad@yahoo.com.ph. Putting up false links and hiding information is also a tool used by scammers. By the way this e-mailer is from the Philippines, a hot bed for cyber crimes.

Clue 3: Bad spelling and grammar

Let’s examine the body of the e-mail. (I’ve taken out the extra lines)

Dear Account User,

DuriIf you dot provide your current password her to avoid terminating your account .Do that now or your account will be suspended within 2 hours for security reasons So be warned.

To complete your account re-confirmation, you must reply to this email immediately and enter your account details as requested below.

***********************************************
E-mail User-name:……….

Password:………………
Date of Birth:…………………
Country:…………………
************************************************

*If your account information is not updated within 2 hours then your ability to access your account will be restricted and Your Hot-mail access will be blocked. Please submit your information immediately as this updating is compulsory for every one or you will lose your account. ***


****IMPORTANT:
This updating is compulsory as a result of our recent server changes. If you fail to update your email account you will soon be unable to receive/send mails.  Also your email will not be equipped with the latest anti-virus system in our new servers. This will make your email and PC vulnerable to virus attacks from the internet.

****HOW TO UPDATE:
To update simply reply the above to upgrading admin as appropriate. Failure to do so immediately will lead to SUSPENSION OF YOUR ACCOUNT

Sincerely,
The Windows Live Hotmail Team

 

Add Contacts | Explore Windows Live | Edit Profile

Get creative with all the ways you can connect online, starting with a more powerful Hotmail®. Windows Live™ has taken Hotmail to a whole new level—with a consolidated address book, new layout, and the helpful new features our users demanded.

Here are a couple other very cool ways Windows Live can help you say a lot more with your messaging:

While I certainly do not have the best writing skills in the world, every e-mail that I have received from Microsoft has been spot-on in terms of grammar and spelling. Many of the phishing scams come from countries whose native language is no English, and therefore do not use correct English in their message.

TMI

You will also notice that in the e-mail that the sending is asking for too much information. Why would they need your birthday and country? These also serve as red flag for phishing. Phishers typically ask for information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, date of birth, etc.

Things you can do

  • Be aware of scam e-mail
  • forward the email to reportphishing@antiphishing.org
  • forward the email to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov
  • forward the email to the “abuse” email address at the company that is being spoofed (e.g. “spoof@ebay.com”)
  • when forwarding spoofed messages, always include the entire original email with its original header information intact
  • notify The Internet Crime Complaint Center of the FBI by filing a complaint on their website: www.ic3.gov/

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2 Comments

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