Gone Phishing? Dont Let Them Hook You!

By: gbm000
You've probably heard of phishing.

It's not the new phonetic spelling many of our youngsters are subjected to in school. Phishing is a criminal activity which has matured with the internet.

The Webopedia definition of "phishing" is:

"The act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The e-mail directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The Web site, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the user's information."

Phishers send out these emails in their millions. And they only need a tiny percentage to respond in order to derive a huge payback.

In recent months, eBay has been a favourite "partner" of the phishers.

The latest attempt hit my inbox earlier this week and is cleverly presented.

The sender of this email is eBay Member - rivernick. In the subject line there was an official sounding "Question from eBay Member".

The email body begins with "Question from eBay Member -- Respond Now. eBay sent this message on behalf of an eBay member via My Messages. Responses sent using email will not reach the eBay member. Use the Respond Now button below to respond to this message."

This is a psychological plant which is designed to condition you to click on the Respond Now button.

The phisher applies more psychological pressure in the message itself:

"Question from rivernick: I'm still waiting payment for my item for about 7 days. What happened? Please mail me ASAP or I will report you to ebay."

The use of a threat is a classic phisher tactic, and conveys the status of them being in the right. Also, the phisher is using the prospect of a negative feedback as a persuasive device for you to get this sorted. What the phisher is hoping you do is convince yourself that there must be a transaction you haven't completed or, at the least, get you to be inquisitive about the particular transaction. The phisher hopes to tempt or persuade you to click on the Respond Now button as a short cut to getting the details of the transaction.

If you do click on the button, you are taken to a page which looks exactly like a genuine eBay page. And this is where the phisher closes in on their objective. In order that you can see the transaction, you are requested to key in your your eBay ID and your password.

When you do this, the phisher has gained your details.

But that could be just the start.

Often with these types of phishers when you've keyed in your eBay ID and password you are taken to a page to "update your account information". Innocent eBay members may proceed to input credit card and other personal information. Again, all of this is being captured by the phisher.

I've read somewhere that the banks have reported around 1% of phishing emails succeed in their objectives. This is a tremendous return for those involved in this activity. Just imagine the 1 million phishing emails I mnetioned earlier. Using the banks' figures, this means as many as 10,000 people getting ripped off from one mailing!

This is an area where it is absolutely fine to be paranoid.

I can't stress this strongly enough. Never, ever click on a link within an email from eBay, PayPal, a bank or any other organisation which holds personal or financial data of yours.

This also includes emails which appear to come from eBay members. To check if such an email is a genuine member-to-member communication, you will find it in your My Messages in My eBay. If it doesn't appear in there, it's a fraud.

Why not use this motto online, "be careful, be wary and be safe".
Share this article :

Most Read
• Phishing Scams - How To Detect Them, by Kingpin221
• Phishing Scams, A Growing Identity Theft Menace, by Jim Hutton
• Credit Card Phishing Scams, by Zack Nelson
Top Searches on Computers and The Internet
•  Get A Job Online•  End Of The Internet