Thursday, June 26, 2008

Scams in Your Inbox – Phishing E-mails

In the last couple of weeks I received two e-mails that almost tricked me. The first one was supposedly from PayPal the other one today from CapitalOne credit cards. I have received this type of e-mail before, but usually since they are such obvious fakes, I pay no mind. This time they looked pretty real.

What is Phishing?

According to Wikipedia it is “the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information …by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication”.

Both e-mails tried to scare me saying that my account had to be confirmed or it would be terminated. The CapitalOne e-mail even went as far as saying there had been various login attempts from multiple computers. I was so close to clicking on the link provided. Of course I remembered a little safety and went to the website directly. Naturally there was nothing wrong with my account. If you do click on the links provided by these scam artists you will be directed to a fake website that looks very much like the genuine site. The e-mails were equally official looking, logos and all, but they made one fatal mistake. The e-mail address they used was a yahoo one. Duh! How dumb do they think I am, of course PayPal would not be using a free e-mail account and neither would CapitalOne. Also, look for bad grammar, the lack of your name, and look closely at the link address.

I went to the PayPal site and found a link to report phishing. Forward the Phishing email to That was great at least I felt like there was someplace to go! Like someone would do something about it, stop others from being taken. PayPal even wrote me back offering thanks and a link with tips to help protect the consumer. Remember that the official PayPal website is a secure address, look for the s after http.

All companies should provide this system. I was surprised the CapitalOne site doesn’t have a link to report Phishing. At least I couldn’t find one. I contacted them directly and am awaiting a response.

There is a place to report phishing scams it is The Anti-Phishing Working Group a volunteer organization. You may send any suspicious e-mail to and they will review it and any websites it links to. They ask not to forward it for information can get lost. Go to their "Report Phishing" page for instructions. They also have a "Phishing Archive" page where you may review phishing e-mails that have been submitted and confirmed.

The CapitalOne e-mail phishing attempt seems to be a new one for it does not show up in their archives. I will be sending the e-mail to the APWG for review.

Another site I found helpful is the FBI’s. The “Internet Fraud” page is a collaboration between the FBI and the national White Collar Crime Center.

It makes me so mad that they can get away with scamming the general public, worldwide! There are no laws, no governing agency to put a stop to every single one of these online criminals. While legislation has been proposed it has not passed. I really don’t understand how and why they have not passed this legislation. Some lawsuits have been successful; however most are getting away with it.

Be careful! Report all phishing attempts and maybe someday they will get tired of spamming our inbox because it will not be worth the effort.

Happy trails!

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