E-Mail Scams Scram

Being a long time “netizen” I probably deal with more spam, scam and virus e-mails than anyone else I know. Thanks to SpamAssassin and Thunderbirds’ fantastic bayesian filtering techniques I luckily only see about 5-10 of these messages per day in my inbox, the rest (at least 100 – 200 messages per day) are being filtered through to my Junk folder and deleted.

Spam is one thing, but some of these damn scam e-mails are something much more diabolical. Now I’m not talking about the ridiculous Nigerian 411 scams that only work because of human greed… I’m talking about messages like:

Dear Matt [which just happens to be the first part of my e-mail address]
Yada Yada… this is notice to inform you that the credit card information that we have on file for your account will be expiring in the coming months, please log into our website and update your billing details. For your personal security, please type “https://www.ourcompany.com” into your web-browser’s location window or click the following link [evil_link]https://www.ourcompany.com[/evil_link].

Real Name
Valid Company Inc.

Now being that long time experienced “netizen” I can spot these things (usually really quite easily because I use text-only e-mail)… and I know not to click on links in e-mails, period… but how am I supposed to explain that to unsuspecting friends, my father, etc? They look at me like I’m a nutzo paranoid crazy man if I tell them they can’t click links in e-mails at all, never ever, no matter what or who it’s from.

Here’s something that made me laugh today (again because of all my net-experience)… I received a virus e-mail that actually got me concerned (for a few seconds anyways). I actually called WorldPay before I did anything, just to confirm my suspicions and that this was infact a hoax message. It is honestly the first time I’ve ever given any significant number of seconds thought to one of these messages; therefore, it’s a valid share and besides Google has nothing on this yet:


My name is Dave and I am from the Support of WorldPay.

We have received the payment order (ID 0220712,Receipt Date 09/07/2006) from you and we need to make a verification of the details you have filled in, as we have received a notice from your card service stating that there was a chargeback made by the owner of the card with which you have made the payment and that your level of authorization has been altered during your last transaction.

This is a very serious matter. We have deducted the amount of the chargeback, GBP 149.89, from your account and added our standard fee of GBP 24.00 as well (you can see your payment details in the attachment).

We have failed to contact you using the telephone number you have provided earlier, meeting no response.

As a precaution, we have limited access to your account in order to protect against future unauthorized transactions.Please understand that this is a security measure intended to help protect you and your personal information.

Please contact your credit card company to resolve this matter.

Best Regards,
Dave Gollick

Yes there was some pour grammar in the message and true there was no “Hello [firstname] [lastname]”, but I deal with card processing quite a bit and I actually know WorldPay and their services, plus there were no links off-message… It was enough to get me thinking anyways. Of course the major tip off was the attachment. Why the heck would WorldPay attach a .zip file of the unauthorized transaction? Either way, that quick call to WorldPay confirmed that indeed it was a hoax. Question solved.

I’m actually not sure where I was going with this blog entry now… I was just annoyed and thought it would be fun to share… so yeah, I’m leaving now.

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