Beware of Scam or Phishing emails!

In all the time I’ve been computering I’ve never actually received any phishing or scam emails myself. Sure, I’ve seen plenty of examples across the net and on computers belonging to my clientele but I’ve never actually had one come through my own inbox… until now!

Just to show how sneaky these people are; I have a very good spam filtering service through my ISP (Internet Service Provider) which these emails managed to get through. Obviously the perpetrators have learned to avoid those words or phrases which generally raise the alarm bells.

Imagine my surprise then to receive two such emails within a couple of days of each other. The first email purports to be from the ANZ Bank:

There are several key elements to note here:

  1. The lack of any official ANZ logo or contact phone number.
  2. The generic reference to “ANZ customer”  rather than identifying the recipient by name.
  3. The threat of something bad happening if the recipient fails to carry out instructions.

This has all the earmarks of what is known as a “Phishing” expedition, the sender is after my bank account details. Here’s how it works; the baddies setup a fake web page which includes a form for for you to fill out, including all your banking details. They then send out thousands of these emails, often including a threat of dire consequences if you fail to comply. They don’t know if the recipients actually have an account at the bank in question but they will always pick a large bank with a very large customer base, so the law of averages will apply.

Here’s the second email I received a couple of days later:

Note the exact same elements; no official logo or identification, the obfuscated URL link, the inferred risk involved with non-compliance. In fact, they are so similar, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if both emanated from the same source.

In this case I don’t even have an account with Western Union, in fact I’ve never even heard of them. So this one was an easy catch. In the case of ANZ though, I do have an account so I immediately warned my lovely wife that if she receives a similar email she should ignore and delete it.

Generally speaking banks do not communicate via email (well, not here in Oz anyway). Should you receive a similar email and have any doubts at all, phone your bank immediately to verify. Do not, under any circumstances, click on the included link!

About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

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