Phishing by fax

Phishing – nothing new in tricking computer users into disclosing personal details (username, password, PIN number or any other access information) and then using this fraudulently obtained data to steal money.

It’s always relied heavily on ‘social engineering’, limited only by the imagination of the scammers. New approaches often tap into legitimate user fears. A new phishing technique that has appeared in the last few days clearly demonstrates this.

The scam involves an email (nothing new there) which targets PayPal customers (nothing new there either), asking them to confirm email address, credit card information and PayPal passwords. However, instead of asking the user to complete an online form, the email urges them to print out the form and fax it to a US toll-free number. This is something new.

We have to give phishers some credit for their creativity. And while we are at it, maybe it’s a good time to review some basics of safe computing.

  • Never reveal passwords, PINs, etc. unless you are certain you can trust the person requesting this information.
  • Don’t fill out forms which arrive in emails.
  • Don’t click on links in emails.
  • Only enter information on a secure web site. Check that the URL starts with ‘https://’ and if you use Internet Explorer [IE] use the lock symbol in the IE status bar to confirm the site you’re accessing.
  • Always use the latest version of your browser and install any security patches that have been issued.
  • Check bank accounts regularly and report anything suspicious.
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