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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