©08 The Media Desk
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"And you though Phishing had gone away."
Regions bank is an Alabama based holding company that is one of the largest banking groups in the US. They have two thousand branches spread across 16 states in the Southeastern US running from the Midwest to the Southern East Coast. While they do have branches in Illinois and Texas, and even Arkansas, they Do Not have a European branch in Poland.
Somebody just said.... "Wonderful. So what?"
The Desk is SO GLAD you asked.
And we'll come back to the bank with the 'Bike Brigade' on their old fashioned spearmint green painted bikes (all wearing helmets of course!) in a moment.
Did you know Amnesty International gave away money in a peace lottery? No? Neither did Amnesty.
Did you buy a ticket for a Coca Cola lottery in South Africa? No. Especially because it doesn't exist... which means you didn't win.
How about a Giant Overseas Raffle, maybe in the UK? Same thing.
Then there is the emails wanting you to register an appliance, or for a special preferred customer sale, or even thanking you for your donation to charity that you can claim on your taxes.
Oh yeah, there's the tax refund one too.
ALL OF THEM ARE SCAMS!!!
Most are simply an attempt to get personal information out of you to feed an identity theft outfit. Others will make one raid for what they can get on your bank account and move on to a fresh victim. A few are looking for things like your home address as the target of a real work break in by burglary gangs that sweep through various areas taking things that are easy to sell and almost untraceable.
Some of them aren't looking to rip you off, but instead, to enslave your computer into a 'bot net' to spam and scam others, or to even use as a server for a child porn ring.
If you don't believe it, you are not paying attention. If you think it can't happen to you, you are deluded. If you think that they can't get through your protection to rape your machine, you don't know what you are talking about.
Even now in 2008 people are forwarding the 'Bill Gates is sharing his fortune' email- "just in case". That has NEVER been true. [see the Desk article] But yet they think that there may be a chance that they'll get something for nothing.
So how much of a stretch is it that somebody, somewhere, will reply to an email that says that they've won a lottery, that their long lost uncle in Botswana died in a plane crash and left them a pile of money, or that they need to confirm their information for a refund of some sort?
They do it. People are taken by these crimes all the time. Some people only lose a few dollars, others lose thousands, and it has happened that some have lost their lives.
Some of these emails contain computer script language in things like dancing cow animations that will turn your computer into a mindless spam spewing zombie. How do you think the cow is moving? It could be just an animated 'gif' that is nothing more than a series of pictures playing in a loop. Or, it could be an executable program that is being fed from an outside computer and once the port is opened by your browser to load the movie, it pumps down a payload of God knows what to your machine. [another reason not to use Internet Explorer and to turn off the 'automatic open' features in Mozilla and other browsers.]
See these links for tips on IE and Mozilla's Firefox
And still others just clog up mailboxes and use bandwidth. These would be of the "truth of a mother's love friendship quiz blessing poem tantra of little known facts" species.
Face it. We've all seen them all. The little known facts are mostly false. No blessing is going to come from forwarding anything to everybody you know. If you have a friend who wants you to fill out a quiz about ice cream flavors, you may need new friends. And your mother probably loved you enough to tell you not to forward spam emails just because everybody else was doing it.
There is one thing those forwarded forwardings are good for. They are a goldmine of otherwise unpublished working email addresses spammers can send stuff to selling cheap drugs and sunglasses and low interest loans (all of which are also scams). One the Desk recently got at its day job had nearly 120 working email addresses between the various forwardings.
Let's see, the first time the Desk said this was Nine Years ago.
That advice still holds, with one new addition.
DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM A SPAM EMAIL.
DO NOT CLICK ON ANYTHING IN THE SPAM EMAIL, INCLUDING THE "To Be Removed" LINK. That just proves that your email is working and you read spam emails, so they will send you even more.
DO NOT FORWARD SPAM EMAILS OF ANY TYPE.
and the 'new' advice
DO NOT POST PERSONAL INFORMATION SUCH AS REAL NAMES AND ADDRESSES ON SOCIAL WEB SITES.
This even goes for emails that look official, like the one below, but when looked at the second time they let you know they're a scam.
This one had gross misspellings, and the link in the email went nowhere near the bank in question. Also, When the headers were checked, most of the information had been spoofed. However, the link in the email ended up in Poland at a host site well known as one of those who has a 'less than sterling' reputation and haven for criminal activity.
And now let's look at that link itself.
The URL began with what we've all been told is the address for a SECURE website. httpS. That is supposed to mean that it can be trusted. That it has to be something that is hacker-proof and all that. Well, yeah. Usually. But....
.... The Words on the Page are just Words on the Page. The link itself is to an address that begins with http://vmax.shou.pl/ it is Not Secure. And it is NOT Regions bank.
One more time, this is NOT the site for Regions even though it says "www.regions.com" in the address. You can see it in the full address which was: http://vmax.shou.pl/New2008/www.regions.com/www.regions.com/ the site is the 'shou.pl' with a page on the site being called www.regions.com .
A webmaster can name a page pretty much anything they want inside their domain. And just because you call a folder on your site www.PopeBenedictXVI.com under your address (in this case shou.pl) does not mean it has anything to do with the Catholic Church. It is whatever is directly behind the first http:// that counts.
If you see an email that looks official from your bank or other business that you deal with, and the link in it looks in any way fishy, like our example below, and you still want to check with the business, go to a search engine and type in the name of the outfit and go to their main page and do your checking from there. With our example, that would be the REAL regions.com page.
So the final word has to be- THINK while online.
For more information about phishing and other online fraud as well as 'real world' identity theft and other crime, this link will go to the real Regions Bank security page.
The advice on what to do if you are a victim of fraud or identity theft applies World Wide.... http://www.regions.com/about_regions/report_fraud.rf
Corporate site http://www.regions.com
[NOTE: the Desk is not affiliated in any way with Regions, but it kind of likes their bicycles. ]
scam spam identity theft email below, posted as received
From: Regions (email@example.com) [From address was spoofed.]
Sent: Wed 1/23/08 5:16 AM
To: One of the Desk's nine working email accounts.
Subject: Online Security Upgrade Alert
Due to our RECENT upgrade, we kindly request you to update your online banking details, do not hesitate to fill all the requested information(s) in the link bellow and reconfirm your online account details.
Note: there is an error in your file with our organization that need to be unpdated. Failure to re-confirm your online banking details may leads to temporarily suspension from accessing your account online.
https://www.regions.com [HOTLINK REMOVED. Link ACTUALLY went to: http://vmax.shou.pl/New2008/www.regions.com/www.regions.com/]
We use the latest security measure to ensure that your online banking maintainiging by our financial institution is well safe and secured according to our banking system Thank you for banking with us. RegionsNet Online Help Desk [HOTLINK REMOVED. Link ACTUALLY went to: http://vmax.shou.pl/New2008/www.regions.com/www.regions.com/]
End of Quoted Email Scam spam
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