Friday, 10 June 2011

The Phishermen's Guide to Success

I always thought that people who committed fraud would be the super intelligent types.  I have visions of corporate white collar criminals creaming off cash undetected by the hierarchy and rubbing their hands together in glee as they ship their ill gotten gains into their offshore account, before retiring to a new life in Cuba with a trophy wife.  However, these days the reality is very different.

We all get them.  The emails that pour into our inboxes, the ones that slip through the junk filter.  Nestled next to the adverts for viagra, or advice on penis enlargements, I receive literally dozens of these evil little phishing scam emails.  Now, I'm no criminal mastermind, but I'm pretty sure that if it came to it, I could do a better job of illiciting sensitive information from unsuspecting internet users, than the charlatans who message me,

In 2010 the UK lost an estimated £46.7 million to phishing scams, which leads me to conclude that there must be some very sophisticated phishermen out there who manage to convice their targets of the authenticity of their scams.  So why then do I get the utter idiots trying to phish my details from me?

I'd like to offer some advice to the poor unfortunate souls who honestly believe that they will get a bite from me when they spam up my emails with their pathetic attempts at phishing.

Firstly learn to actually spell.  When the subject of the email states  "Your acount has been acesed", this does not instil confidence in me that this is the genuine article.  I'm sure HSBC have spell checks on their outgoing emails.  So when they threaten to suspend my account, they will be able to get the word "temporarily" correct instead of writing "temporyly".  Maybe it's just me, but the ability to spell is a must if you want to phish.

Use proper English business speak. Banks speak all posh like!!  They don't say "if you don't respond now we will close you down"'s just not proper!! The use of slang is inappropriate.  You may as well say that your money's been nicked innit!  It'd be just as convincing.

Do not make your own dodgy looking logo.  It isn't hard to see that a DIY drawing of the 'Direct Gov' banner is not the real thing.  They spend millions perfecting their brand took 10 minutes on Paint.  If you want me to disclose my password to my daughter's Student Finance account, you must do better!

At least try to make them a bit personal.  When it says "Dear Customer" and tells me how my Ebay account has been accessed to buy ten fake Rolexes, I think you'd know who you are talking to.  After all you spotted this anomaly on my account, you probably also spotted my name.  Surely with a bit of homework you could have worked that one out??

Just take a look at the email addreses these so called official warnings are coming from.  If you are indeed from Santander as you are claiming, surely you'd be emailing from not  Or am I being unduly suspicious of this email asking me for my account details and passwords?

Hyperlinks that do not point to the URL that they say they are sending me to is definitely a cause for concern. Please do not insult me.  I can hover with my cursor and I will know you are trying to trick me.  However, I've never felt even slightly inclined to click on any links due to the presence of the aforementioned wrongs, so this is a moot point!

Joking aside, there are some immensely sophisticated methods of phishing on the internet that are incredibly difficult to detect.  So make sure you have all your security up to date and be aware of the tricks of this evil trade.  If in doubt be very cautious and never disclose personal details.

I guess these phishing scams hope to target the more naive members of society.  My 78 year old mum regularly receives these emails.  Thankfully she has become quite cynical and sticks them in "file thirteen"...her way of saying she hits delete!!  I'm very proud of her for being internet savvy!!  (Although the first time she had a message saying her bank account at Barclay's had been accessed, she promptly dragged my dad to their local branch to see the manager...they were quite confused especially as they bank at HSBC!!  But at least she didn't respond to the scammers!) *Bank names have been changed to deter any potential conmen!*

Image from Google Images


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