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Visa Credit Card Scam – Don’t Be a Victim!

The more things change the more things remain the same, right? Well perhaps not always, but when it comes to Internet credit card fraud that definitely seems to be the case.

In 2003 cyber criminals ran an Internet scam that preyed on Visa credit card holders that used scam e-mail in conjunction with a specially designed Web site to gather both customer account numbers, personal identification numbers and other personal information. It has since been estimated that 5 percent of recipients responded to this scam e-mail – an incredible number.

Just this past week, I reported on this Blog on an email scam that involves MasterCard. In this scam an email link redirects to a site that looks very similar to MasterCard’s site. Those who fall victim to this scam are persuaded to input their credit card and other personal information. Carole Theriault, a senior security consultant at Sophos, a leading developer and vendor of security software and hardware, has pointed out that the average person would have difficulty in determining that this fraudulent site is not the authentic MasterCard site.

Well, here we go again. Now comes additional news from Sophos of a new Visa credit card scam in which Visa’s Verified by Visa website has been fraudulently replicated. Similar to the MasterCard scam, this one relies on the victim being persuaded to provide credit card details including their Visa card number, security ID, ATM pin number, Social Security Number, mother’s maiden name, full address, and phone number.

The information obtained would then allow criminals to make fraudulent charges, or use the victim’s credentials on online services, such as eBay, Amazon and others, with little risk of being caught.

A number of Internet security experts have told me this morning that this phishing scam is not designed particularly well, and that various aspects of the scam should raise potential victims’ suspicions. On the other hand, in my view any scam that alerts 95% of potential victims to fraudulent activity but still manages to trick 5% of its target audience is an unqualified success by any measure.

In this escalating battle with cyber criminals there are ways to protect your money and identity, but in the end we all need to use a little common sense.


Follow the tips below to protect yourself against these and other threats.

· Don’t open emails that come from untrusted sources.

· Don’t run files that you receive via email without making sure of their origin.

· Don’t click links in emails. If they come from a known source, type them on the browser’s address bar. If they come from an untrusted source, simply ignore them, as they could take you to a web designed to download malware onto your computer.

· Keep your computer protected. Install a security solution and keep it up-to-date.

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Filed under Email, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, internet scams, Online Banking, Online Safety, Phishing, Safe Surfing, Windows Tips and Tools

Protect Yourself – MasterCard SecureCode Phishing Attack!


Phishing can be defined simply as the act of tricking people into revealing sensitive or private information. It relies for its success on the premise that asking a large number of people for this information, will always fool at least some of those people.

Most of this activity is automated, and the targets are, as stated earlier, large numbers of Internet users. So phishing is considered an opportunistic attack, rather than the targeting of a specific person.

In a phishing attack, the attacker creates a situation where people are convinced that they are dealing with an authorized party; in this case MasterCard.

As described by MasterCard, SecureCode is a secure method for payment at thousands of online stores which uses a private code known only to the customer and the bank. Using this system offers protection against unauthorized card use online, at participating online retailers.

According to Carole Theriault, a senior security consultant at Sophos, a leading developer and vendor of security software and hardware, “MasterCard has been very successful in positioning SecureCode as the answer to online fraud.

However security experts, including Sophos, are now warning of an email phishing scam that attempts to entice MasterCard customers to signup for this service with a promise of discounts on future purchases.

The email link redirects to a site that looks very similar to the MasterCard site, where the cyber crooks then persuade the victim to input their credit card information. Sophos’ Theriault makes the point that “to the undiscerning eye, it’s almost impossible to tell this isn’t the real MasterCard site.”

The information obtained would then allow criminals to make fraudulent charges, or use the victim’s credentials on online services, such as eBay, Amazon and others, with little risk of being caught.

There are ways to protect your money and identity from preying cyber criminals but in the end, we all need to use a little common sense – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Follow the tips below to protect yourself against these and other threats.

· Don’t open emails that come from untrusted sources.

· Don’t run files that you receive via email without making sure of their origin.

· Don’t click links in emails. If they come from a known source, type them on the browser’s address bar. If they come from an untrusted source, simply ignore them, as they could take you to a web designed to download malware onto your computer.

· Keep your computer protected. Install a security solution and keep it up-to-date. Also, before carrying out any kind of financial transaction on the Web, scan your computer with a second-opinion security solution, like NanoScan.

Elsewhere in this Blog you can download freeware anti-malware solutions that provide excellent overall security protection. Click here.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Email, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, internet scams, Online Banking, Online Safety, Phishing, Safe Surfing, Spyware - Adware Protection, Windows Tips and Tools