Organised Crime "Gone Phishing"?
No they are not taking a long deserved break! The latest from the FBI is that the latest online identity theft/scam called “phishing” has links to Eastern Block Organised crime.
Unlike Spam, which has a high nuisance value and increases business costs, this latest from the Internet is a form of FRAUD, where they steal your online identity and make transactions online in your name or have access to your credit card details and make transactions using your credit card!
With the increase in online shopping now that we are close to Christmas, phishing is being viewed as a serious threat to the growth of e-commerce globally because customers cannot tell the difference between what is fake and what is legitimate. Phishing exploits the trust between the vendor and customer in the online environment.
So what is “phishing?”
In a nutshell “phishing” is when you receive e-mail from a source with which you do online business such as e-bay or online banking, like the example below.
The e-mail asks you to update your information urgently or your account will be closed or some other dire event will happen. The urgency comes in because the fraudulent sites, which the e-mails refer recipients too are only up for a short while before the authorities close them down. You update your information thinking that the e-mail comes from a legitimate source and then your personal financial info is in the hands of fraudsters who have access to your online accounts.
As the scam progresses so do the variations on “phishing” especially with the establishment of new alliances between computer virus writers, junk e-mail artists and international organised crime rings. What’s more they now are also hosting the spoof sites on the legitimate sites so it is harder to trace. In South Africa, Standard bank has issued a warning to all its online banking clients.
How do you safeguard yourself from “phishing”
1. Do not click on a link in unsolicited mail.
2. Do not fill our forms requesting personal info sent via e-mail.
3. Do not click on a link in e-mail because you do not know where you are going. Rather use the e-commerce site’s home page to navigate.
4. And most importantly - WHEN IN DOUBT CONFIRM by using traditional communication with the organisation from whom the e-mail supposedly comes.
5. Keep track of your on-line accounts regularly.
26 Jan 2005
This article is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute professional advice relating to specific instances. Should you wish to place any reliance on the information presented in this article we strongly advise that you consult your legal advisor or the Electronic Law Consultancy - firstname.lastname@example.org