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Waianae Woman Victimized with Phishing E-mail

Renee Richardson, a resident of Waianae (Honolulu, USA) recently became victim of a phishing campaign when scammers spammed e-mails to all the friends and relatives on her address list. The e-mail scam was detected on May 16, 2010.

According to Richardson, the first time she got to know about the scam was at the time her nephew called her. He was amongst those 700 contacts whose IDs were stored on Richardson's e-mail address book and who got the spam mail.

In the message the sender had written that he's currently in deep trouble. While in London for a brief holiday, he was robbed with a gun and so has lost all credit cards, money and cell-phone.

The e-mail urged friends and family for assistance so the sender could clear certain hotel bill worth $6,000. It even asked to send the money through wire transfer to an address in London. Richardson's relatives who got the e-mail nearly did as asked in it. They told Richardson that they made efforts to dispatch the cash, but Richardson told them that she was in Hawaii itself, not London. Kitv.com reported this on May 18, 2010.

When Richardson's relatives received the e-mail they thought it was real since it had the contact information and e-mail signature of Richardson.

Remarking about the kind of scam mentioned above, security researchers said that they had been first created in Nigeria, so they were called 419 scams too, the name derived from the Criminal Code article of that country for tackling the fraud. Another description of the scams was that they were Nigeria's advance-fee fraud in a modified version.

The researchers further noted that as people are increasingly going online for conducting routine personal activities, phishing e-mail scams of this kind are also escalating. According to them, Internet-savvy users find the scams slightly beyond an unavoidable annoyance that aren't difficult to detect if examined closely; however, others who fall for these scams can experience drastic consequences. Apparently, the best action to take is to adopt nothing less than the old practice of calling the person in need first, and then verifying his whereabouts and security.

Related article: Win32/Conficker Revamps: ESET

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