Misc: New phishing scam trick

Subject: Misc: New phishing scam trick
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: CEL <copyediting-l -at- listserv -dot- indiana -dot- edu>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 06 May 2006 09:18:17 -0400

Just spotted a clever new variant on the old "your Paypal account has been compromised" phishing trick. Since this kind of cybercrime is always a slight possibility, it's worth checking. The way I do this is to copy the "click here" link into Word to see what the real URL is. Usually, I get something with an eastern European domain name rather than the actual PayPal URL.

Today's variant does something unusual and thus, much more likely to deceive: the first link really does take you to PayPal's security center. Since you can't actually figure out what to do at that site without a bit of spelunking, it seems perfectly logical to click the second link in the mail message, which ostensibly takes you directly to the place where you can update your account details and fix the problem.

Don't do it: the _second_ link is the phishing scam.

The moral: If you ever get this kind of notification, be it from Paypal or your bank or your credit card company or whatever, go to that location yourself: manually type the URL in your browser. Don't ever click on the link in an e-mail, since (as this example shows), the phishers can be exceptionally clever at tricking us. If you can't figure out whether there's really a problem, or how to solve it, you may even have to resort to calling their 800 number--or send them an e-mail. If there really is a problem, they'll help you fix it. If there isn't they'll tell you that too.

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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