Wednesday, November 28, 2007

One Phish, Two Phish, Bad Phish, Pee-Yew Phish

Isn't it bad enough that the price of oil has risen sky high? That translates to higher prices at the pump and higher prices in the grocery stores. The bread I like is over $3 a loaf now. Milk is approaching $5 a gallon (which makes gasoline look cheap).

Everywhere you turn, prices are up, up, up. And that stinks.

If that's not enough to get your panties in a wad, check out these emails I've received lately. They are but a sampling of the efforts to which folks go to try and steal your financial information or wreck your computer. The one above left is an attempt to get me to log into my PayPal account and give them access to my checking account.

At first glance this appears to be an e-card from a friend. But no sender is named and a legitimate e-card from a website like Hallmark or American Greetings will give the sender's name.

This, my friends, leads to an executable file, which will most likely infect your computer with a virus and/or fry your hard drive.

Sadly, there is a legitimate site called But the link in the message doesn't lead there.

According to this one, I was entered into a UK Lotto and WOW! My number was drawn to win the one million dollar daily jackpot!

All I have to do is email and give them my bank info. Yeah, right. Instead of a one million dollar deposit, I'd most likely see the contents of my account withdrawn and disappearing into the night.

This one comes close to actually looking real, and that's scary. I use this bank and use their online site to monitor my account. According to the email they're doing a random security check and if I don't respond to the email, they'll assume my account is fraudulent and suspend it. "The purpose of this verification is to ensure that your account has not been fraudulently used and to combat the fraud from our community."

Boy do I feel better. Not!

This is my all-time favorite. I retrieved a message remotely from my answering machine and was told my online payments had expired and I needed to go to a certain website and update my information. I was a bit suspicious, and when I got home and checked the caller ID, my suspicions were confirmed.

The Better Business Bureau got tons of calls about this one and it was on the evening news and in the local newspaper twice. They have no idea why Caller ID showed up this way, but I'm glad it associated the number with a nefarious bunch hoping to separate some fools from their money. And would you believe that even with "THIS IS A SCAM" showing up on caller ID, some folks actually went to the website and gave them their personal info???

Beware! Phishing is becoming more prevalent and the phishers are getting more and more sophisticated. Banks and other financial institutions will NEVER ask for private information over the phone or via email. When in doubt, check it out.

Tell us about the scams you've run across and help educate our readers to the dangers lurking out there. Enlighten us and I'll pick one lucky commenter to win a nifty book light.


Rhonda Nelson said...

I get the ones from Paypal and eBy all the time and just forward them to the right people so that they can deal with it.

cas2ajs said...

Oh, wow! Are we twins? :-)
I get all those same ones in addition to ones from Ebay and also the ones telling me of unclaimed millions after a government has been overthrown and they need to transfer the money to a foreign account to keep it safe. In return for sending my banking details and allowing them to safely deposit the money in my account, they will generously allow me to keep 20% of it. All because I am trustworthy and reliable. My sterling reputation spans the globe. lol.


Problem Child said...

As if the "male enhancement" emails weren't enough crap in your mailbox.

Simple rule--never give out info to anyone if you did not initiate contact. Period.

Jen said...

The paypal one comes regularly. And I've gotten the ecard too. I just mark them spam. Didn't know I was supposed to forward them to somebody. It's always amazing to me -- if scammers put as much effort into legitimately making a living as they do in trying to scam folks. I mean, what do they say when they're at a dinner party, "Yes, I'm in the information biz. I'm a phisher." Pond scum.

Playground Monitor said...

Two more were in my inbox this morning -- another eGreeting and one from USBank (where I do NOT bank).

For eBay and PayPal, you can forward the email to or to let them know about it. They have a team of folks who use the info in the message header to try and shut down these scams. The Better Business Bureau in your town can also help.

Great advice from PC -- don't give out info if you didn't initiate the contact.

And yes, Cheryl, we must be twins since we both have such stellar reputations amongst the foreign banking community.


Angel said...

I love the ones I get that claim I'm the relative of somebody who just died and if I will just contact them, I'll receive my part of the inheritance. All because I have the right last name, which isn't even mine, I just married into it. :)

I didn't know I had so many relatives in Europe!


Midnight Skies said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chelle said...

I hate the ones that come after some natural disaster and want you to donate money. Like when the tsunami hit Thailand and I got a bazillion emails wanting me to send money to Lord only knows who. Thank you very much, but I'll donate through the Red Cross or some other agency that I know is real.

I have a friend whose son got one of the eBay phishing emails and went to the website and gave them all his info. What a mess! She had to change his checking account and debit card and then threaten him with his life if he EVER replied to a suspicious email again.

BethRe said...

The Paypal things I receive all of the time I've even reported it to them, same with ebay because it really annoys me

Instigator said...

If you go to and look in yesterday's postings you'll find a very funny response to one of the foreign "I have all this money and will give you a cut if you help me get it out of my war-torn nation" emails. The man has actually been emailing back and forth with this "woman" - it's quite hilarious. Nice to see them strung along for a change.


Lynn Raye Harris said...

I ignore them all. I get legitimate emails from my bank or credit card accounts, but I still don't click on the links. I go to the site by typing the address I always use into my browser, and then I access whatever info they've been telling me about. It's always been legit, but I just make it a policy not to click on links in emails.

I love those commercials where the guy sits down and starts telling someone about this incredible opportunity, says he's an official with a foreign bank, yadda yadda, and the person always tells him to buzz off.

Did you see MSNBC's To Catch a Con Man? Chris Hansen struck up a correspondence with these guys, then went to Europe to meet with them. It was great to see them sweat. :)

LeeAnn said...

Oh wow that’s kinda scary.

I’ve never (knock on wood) received any of those e-mails. Or maybe I have but I get so much junk mail I just delete large groups of it at a time.

robynl said...

I get the PayPal one, the person who needs to share money with me b/c his country is at war, the e-card ones, and also from banks who want my info to clarify my account.

CrystalGB said...

I get these emails all the time. I got one today that said suspicious activity had been detected on my account and I needed to fax them my account information to validate my account.
I would never do this. I feel bad for people who fall for phishing schemes.

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is Kristin, Marilyn's daughter-in-law! Lynn Raye Harris mentioned:

I love those commercials where the guy sits down and starts telling someone about this incredible opportunity, says he's an official with a foreign bank, yadda yadda, and the person always tells him to buzz off.

I work for the ad agency who created those commercials for the United States Postal Inspection Service's campaign. You would not believe some of the stories we heard about people who had committed suicide because they went bankrupt from some of these scams. Truly horrible.