phone phish twist

Published: 2007-11-13
Last Updated: 2007-11-13 18:14:07 UTC
by Swa Frantzen (Version: 1)
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Mike sent us an interesting twist on a phishing scheme. The victim receives a message from a credit union associated in name with the victim receiving the email, and it asks to call the credit union on a provided phone number.

It's well targeted, so we're obfuscating the parts that identify the victim all too easy:

Due to unusual levels of fraud we have had to suspend any future authorizations being conducted with your VISA Check Card in Mexico and United States. If you want this restriction to be removed from your accont please call us immediately. 

Call (877) 228-0944 to have this restriction removed.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

? Copyright 2007 ****** Credit Union.

From an awareness point of view to your customers/users/... the key message here is to:

  • not only to teach your users not to follow links in (possible) phishing messages, but to use bookmarked URLs instead
  • but to also tell them to use only contact data from a safe location (and especially nothing originating directly or indirectly from the email message itself)

We've checked out the phone number itself. When doing this, make sure calls to scam artists don't get traced back to you, they tend to become aggressive every so often. It seems this number is used more in scams like these:

One of the fellow US based handlers called the number to validate it's not a joe-job to discredit a real institution.  He found it's an automated system on the other side and it indeed asks credit card numbers, PIN, expiration date etc. It'll also tell you your card is now activated (read: if you entered valid data they will now use your card actively). Interestingly it doesn't identify the institution it's supposedly working for.

Swa Frantzen

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