Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2003]
EarthLink.com - Account suspension alert.
Dear EarthLink.com member,
EarthLink.com Account Management regrets to inform you that your EarthLink.com account has been suspended due to credit card verification problems. Your credit card failed to authorize and as a result, your account has been suspended.
Please take a moment to confirm your account by going to the following address: EarthLink.com/account.cgi
Trully yours, EarthLink.com account management team.
Variations: Similar messages were also sent to customers of Juno.com, AOL, and eBay.
Origins: Yet again a redirection scam has hit the Internet in the guise of messages appearing to come from a well-known Internet entity; in this case the wolf is disguised in the clothing of Earthlink, a large Internet Service
Just like a scam perpetrated earlier this year using PayPal as camouflage, this one involves messages sent to Earthlink customers which appear to be coming from Earthlink management itself. A typical message claims that the recipient's Earthlink account has been suspended due to a problem with his credit card and requests that he
Scams that trick the gullible into revealing private information by having them "confirm" details presumably already in the possession of the one doing the asking fall under the broad heading of "social engineering," a fancy term for getting people to part with key pieces of information simply by talking to them. The wary consumer's best defense to such maneuvers is a zipped lip (or, in the online world, an untapped keyboard). Protect yourself by volunteering nothing, even if you feel somewhat pressured by the one doing the inquiring. If someone on the telephone asks you to read off your checking account number for "verification," ask him instead to recite it to you from his records. If you get an
The con artists are getting more sophisticated all the time, so do not be too quick to mistake the appearance of legitimacy or authority with legitimacy itself. Just because an
Last updated: 6 January 2008