Consumer Payment Card News

Phishing Bait

The virtual bad guys are relentless in their pursuit to fool Internet users into visiting fake bank sites, downloading keyloggers, or infecting computers with a wide variety of Trojan programs. Email fraud and phishing attacks grew by more than 50% in January, with an average of 5.7 new, unique attacks sent out to millions of consumers each day. The most-targeted industry sector was “Financial Services” and the company most-targeted was eBay. Tumbleweed Communications and the Anti-Phishing Working Group this week reported there were 176 new, unique phishing attacks during January. About 8% of the reported phishing attacks took advantage of the recently patched Microsoft IE browser vulnerability that allows Web site addresses to be disguised. Phishing attacks involve the mass distribution of “spoofed” email messages with return addresses, links, and branding which appear to come from banks, insurance agencies, retailers or credit card companies. These fraudulent messages are designed to fool the recipients into divulging personal data such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers and passwords, social security numbers, etc. Because these emails look “official,” up to 5% of recipients may respond to them, resulting in financial losses, identity theft, and other fraudulent activity. In addition to the direct cost of fraud and the lingering effects of identity theft for consumers, this growing application of criminal spam threatens the integrity of companies that do business online. The Web site of the Anti-Phishing Working Group is “www.antiphishing.org”:www.antiphishing.org.

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