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FBI Warns of Fake McDonalds E-mail

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is warning end-users not to trust e-mails that request to give out personal information such as bank account or social security numbers even if their senders appear to be a reputed organization.

Steven Kelly, Supervisory Special Agent, FBI, says that during adverse economic time, if anything sounds too real, it definitely means that the people behind it are phishing for information. It also means that those people are devising a hook with which phishing can become increasingly sophisticated, as reported by wthr on March 19, 2009.

FBI said that the new Internet scam employs the golden strategy of persuading users to participate in a survey and win cash in exchange.

The phishing campaign promises money to users for answering an online customer survey that is apparently conducted by McDonalds, the fast-food retailer. The campaign involves an e-mail that directs recipients to answer some questions and subsequently provide their bank account and social security numbers to receive the due compensation for their participation.

In addition, the e-mail provides a link to an online survey. It appears legitimate and if a consumer follows the link, he is taken to a supposedly "protected site" where he is asked to feed in his payment card information to get the cash. However, this is simply a rudimentary phishing scam designed to steal valuable financial and personal details.

Meanwhile, McDonalds posted a note on its website notifying consumers that McDonalds is neither behind nor affiliated to the fraudulent messages or websites in any manner. It further states that the company is currently probing into the incident and apologizes for any inconvenience as a result of the incident.

Moreover, scammers and other con artists are making the most of the economic recession that are prompting consumers to search for possible "fast remedies" to their financial distresses.

On the whole, spam mailers have been exploiting McDonalds' and other companies' names for several months now. For example, online criminals, during March 2008, sent e-mails supposedly signed from Walmart to try and harvest credit card data.

Related article: FBI’s ICCC Annual Report Discusses Fraudulent and Non-Fraudulent Complaints

» SPAMfighter News - 3/24/2009

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