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Chris Forde

The Silent e Blog by Chris Forde

Gone Phishing

I love scammers. Actually, I don't like them one bit. I think there's a very special hot place for them, but I do enjoy their, um, cunning?

I've had a few people talk about getting an email allegedly from Verizon Wireless. I have no idea who is really sending out the email, but it is not them. It is really a phishing scheme designed to get your personal information and your money.

The hook is you racked up massive charges on your account and they want you to panic and look at your bill now. I was really hoping that I would get one of these and luckily (?) one came through. Here's what it looked like:

Now, let's talk about some of the problems with this.

1. The biggest problem...I don't have any phones with Verizon Wireless. Awfully hard for me to get an $1800 bill without an account.

2. I do use online billing with several companies I do business with so I do get bills. However, I have yet to see a bill addressed to me...and a number of other people.

Now, the hope is that you panic and click on one of the links to get into your account and pay the bill. It isn't unusual for scams like this to also include some sort of threat to cut off your service if you don't pay up. Never, ever click on one of the links. I can't emphasize that enough. At best, they are trying to get your login information, but more likely they want much more personal information including things like bank account, credit card and Social Security numbers. The links can also be a gold mine of viruses and malware that will infect your computer as soon as you get there.

If you hover over the links (again, DO NOT CLICK them!) you can see that they don't want to take you somewhere legit. Often, they'll just be a series of numbers or something far from legit that will end in a country domain rather than the .com domain. My favorite actually was phishing.whatever the rest of it was.

This is just one example of a phishing scheme. I've seen them for banks, credit cards and other legitimate online companies. Often, they look legitimate, but usually you can see what's wrong pretty quickly. Most companies will give you a chance to report fraudulent emails. Just make sure you never reply to the scammer and again, don't click random links.

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04/18/2012 9:45AM
Gone Phishing
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