Winner of Beauty Contest Victimized in Phishing Scam

Sophos, a vendor that provides IT control and security, is again reminding computer users to be wary of an online identity theft and fraud after the recent incident of phishing in which Jade Saunders, the current winner of a beauty contest in the British town of Scarborough, has become victim of a phishing scam.

The 20 semi-finalists of the beauty contest clicked on a link embedded in an electronic mail posing to be a message from their bank but redirected them to an authentic-looking Website, as reported by Kansas City Infozine on June 3, 2008.

So when the fake site was able to convince Jade, she entered her bank account information, thereby enabling the cyber criminals to establish an order for payment on her personal account for £10,000 (approx. US$ 20,000).

In a statement Graham Cluley, Senior Technology Consultant, Sophos, said that such phishing attacks are not new. Research by the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) revealed that the phishers are able to gain the trust of 5% of recipients and make them reply to e-mail as delivered to Miss Saunders, as reported by Kansas City Infozine on June 3, 2008.

Mr. Cluley further said that reputed companies never ask their clients for passwords or any account detail over e-mail. He, therefore, advised users that even if they thought that an e-mail message from their bank is legitimate, they must not click on any link. Instead they should visit the bank's Website by typing the address in the Web browser.

Cluley further said that organizations need to be vigilant against phishing scams and that it is important for them to properly protect their employees from attacks that could steal both personal data and corporate information, as reported by Kansas City Infozine on June 3, 2008.

A spokesman on behalf of Halifax said that a bank would never send an e-mail to a customer and ask to divulge confidential information. He said that such types of fraud are common and receivers of such e-mail should simply delete the message, as reported by Webuser on June 2, 2008.

While Ms. Saunders has made her case public and warns people about the risk of disclosing sensitive information, Sophos is suggesting computer users to update their security systems as defense against online threats.

Related article: Wenrou Creators Face Court Trials in China

» SPAMfighter News - 18-06-2008

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