The Embarrassing Anatomy of a Phishing Scam

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This post comes from Len Penzo at partner site LenPenzo.com.

You’ve got to hand it to scam artists. They often succeed in spite of themselves.

If I had a nickel for every time I retrieved a message from my inbox warning me that my PayPal account has been limited, or that my credit card has been suspended, well, I’d have at least $100 bucks in my pocket right now.

Don’t scoff. That’s 2,000 nickels!

This afternoon it happened again. I got an “urgent” email from VISA and MasterCard — apparently they are now one company — to tell me that my credit card was suspended.

By the way, they didn’t identify whether they were referring to my VISA card or my MasterCard, but why worry about important details like that?

Of course, they wanted me to supply them with all my critical credit information, including my credit card number, mother’s maiden name, Social Security number, security code, pin number, and password.

So I gave it to them.

Just kidding.

It would be funny, if only it weren’t so sinister.

Which is why I thought I’d take a moment to point out just how lazy these thieves usually are when it comes to trying to make a quick buck, by showing you a screenshot from the aforementioned phishing scam that hit my inbox today.

The good news is the scammers’ laziness usually provides most folks with enough obvious clues to realize that something is probably amiss.

True, there are a few cyber criminals out there who make their phishing attempts much more professional, but if you stay vigilant it’s tough to get fooled. Remember, credit card companies and banks will typically never send you an email message that requests your personal information.

And folks, if you ever have any doubts about the veracity of any message in your inbox regarding your credit or debit cards, call your bank or credit card company directly.

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