The 2011 scammer-trend: Phishing emails

Don´t be fooled by scammers. Hear what happened to one of our customers when she received a phishing email from a man requesting counseling and a health check-up.

You have probably heard about the so called phishing emails, were scammers try to “fish” money out of innocent people´s accounts approaching them via more or less trustworthy looking emails. In 2011 this trend increased significantly making it one of the most common security threats for PC users.

One of MYSecurityCenter´s customers, practitioner Rumana Zahn wrote us an email telling about her experience with scammers pretending to be interested in two weeks of yoga retreat, checkups and counseling for a group of ten people.

Rumana Zahn took the request seriously to begin with, she almost followed through, but luckily she got suspicious. The scammers asked her if they could pay her for full fee including their interpreter´s fee which meant that she should pay their interpreter directly. The trick consisted in the fact that the fraudsters would pay over the net with a stolen credit card. Out of the 7,000 euros they would transfer, she could keep her fee of 2,000 and the rest she would transfer by bank to their translator, which of course was part of the scammer team. That way she would participate in laundering stolen money, which is illegal. She was repeatedly asked whether she accepted credit card payment, but since she had no possibility of accepting this form of payment, she asked the fraudsters to make a bank transfer. She began to get suspicious when she received a second email in which he repeated his questions about credit card payment.

“I began to suspect the whole thing being a hoax, although I actually thought that the approach initially sounded serious. I guess it would have meant me having to be liable. Very clever indeed”, Rumana Zahn says. She asked them to pay by bank transfer or PayPal but she never received an answer.

“Since then I get an email like this twice a year – it’s very similar – a group coming, please arrange. Another friend of mine got the same email two years ago”.

Rumana Zahn is just one of many people who have been attacked by scammers sending out fake emails. Read this newsletter´s Tips and Tricks on what to keep in mind when a phishing email hits you in 2012.

Thanks to Rumana Zahn for telling us her story.
See one of the original phishing emails below.

From: johnsonwilliams400 [mailto:johnsonwilliams400@gmail.com]
Sent: Wed 02 November 2011 15:21
To: j.williams2000@rocketmail.com
Subject: Inquiry

Greetings,

I want to book for 2 weeks checkups and counseling, 1 or 2 hours each
day Monday to Friday (morning or evening hours) for a group of 10. We
will be coming for a one month vacation/holiday from 29th Nov 2011 and
in line with our plans we will require 2 weeks Natural Therapy to help
maintain healthy body due to the nature of our job and also to make
our stay fun. The checkups and counseling should basically be on
Naturopathic consultations or any other Natural Therapy you can offer.

Please let me know if your clinic can handle this for us and get back
to me with requirements to enable me contact you with more
clarifications. Also confirm if you can arrange a one on one checkups
and counseling for us or if its better in group.

Awaits your email.

John Williams