419 Scammers now Targeting LinkedIn Users

Security software vendor Sophos warned employees about the risks of establishing contact with strangers via LinkedIn, the site for business networking, on May 22, 2008. The warning came after it became known that 419 scammers or advanced fee fraud scammers are manipulating with the site in order to trap potential victims.

According to the researchers at Sophos, advanced fee fraud, also called 419 scams (derived its name from a section number of the Nigerian penal code), can be commonly found in users' mailboxes. Typically, the e-mails offer wealth claiming to be an inheritance or a lottery gain in return for the recipient's advance of a processing fee or his banking details.

Scammers who find obstructions from corporate anti-spam devices at the company's e-mail gateway are now focusing on the sites like LinkedIn in an attempt to trap unwary business employees. Recently, a 419 scam was delivered via the LinkedIn site claiming to arrive from an Ivory Coast woman resident, aged 22, who was handed over $6.5 Million by her late father.

The e-mail then requested for bank account number and urged the recipient to send a return message furnishing the details to a Yahoo! e-mail Id within a week.

Sophos' Senior Technology Consultant, Graham Cluley, said that 419 scammers might be thinking that a professional on LinkedIn has more income than a user of Facebook or MySpace, and is therefore potentially a larger catch. ITNewsOnline published Cluley's statement on May 22, 2008.

Meanwhile, Web 2.0-based sites like Facebook and LinkedIn could be regarded as giving strangers opportunities to contact the sites' private users who do not enjoy the protection from company anti-spam filters. Therefore, computer users need to be careful with unsolicited messages as they could come from an Internet criminal, Cluley added.

Also, Sophos experts have recommended that LinkedIn users, who would like to get less spam, set their communications configuration on the Website differently.

Sophos concluded by citing past instances of 419 e-mail scams, such as a message apparently from a US sergeant stationed in Baghdad, from an African astronaut stuck on the Mir space station and more.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

» SPAMfighter News - 31-05-2008

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