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Phishers Victimize AOL Users

The Department of Justice accused six people for organizing a phishing scam, operated on AOL users. The group of six collected thousands of e-mail ids of AOL users and injected malware into their computers. This resulted in preventing the users to log onto their AOL accounts until they entered their credit card, bank account and other private particulars.

The scam involved fake e-mail messages received by AOL users. The messages claimed to be greeting cards, which actually install malware on the users' PCs. The fake greeting cards pretended to come from Hallmark.com and BlueMountain.com. There were other spoof e-mails that posed to arrive from billing department of AOL.

The e-mail message told the recipient that due to a meltdown of a central server, the recipient's credit card information got way laid. So to continue the AOL experience and maintain the account running, the recipient needs to enter his credit card information within 24 hours.

As per Tom Carson, a US Attorney Office representative in Connecticut district, although AOL users were the primary targets of the scam, other people might have too fallen victim of the scam. He said the ongoing investigation showed that the bulk of the targets were AOL users but it is not completely certain that they were the only ones.

US Attorney Kevin O'Connor said that the scam has been running since 2004 and those involved in it will not be let free. They will not be spared strict terms of imprisonment.
When the scam had started, the profit made was used to buy laptops, gaming consoles and gift cards. Three of the men have already pleaded guilty and Carson said that they are imprisoned for 2-9½ years. One of them, Michael Dolan, gained unauthorized access to a protected computer some time back for which he was sentenced for 2 years.

In reference to the practice of phishing, Lindsey Wegrzyn of EarthLink said that it was a rapidly growing dangerous online theft. EarthLink has, therefore, taken the initiative to search the origins of these hoaxes and provide testimony to law enforcement.

Related article: Phishers Expand Their Sphere of Attacks

» SPAMfighter News - 10/6/2006

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