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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

January 31, 2006

Monkies who try to take from you

I too, this morning, received one of those fake messages from Paypal.

This one really did look convincing. Full of links and graphics loaded from paypal's web site telling me that one of my cards has been reported stolen and that I needed to do something to sort everything out to prevent my account being suspended.

As other people have noted, this sort of thing ought immediately to set alarm bells ringing. First, I don't have a credit card, and nothing else has been reported stolen from me (apart perhaps from my youth and naivety), and then there's a link you click on to sort things out.

However, it really really did look official. Three other things confirmed its dodgyness though:
a) I logged into my Paypal account and everything is fine.
b) The mail header for the message has no "audit trail" of previous SMTP connections and is reputed to originate from "mail.com" - yeah, I'm sure.
c) The link points to a server named http://p6.hostingprod.com, rather than Paypal.

It's interesting isn't it, because these defrauders have access into our homes and lives. For a lot of young people, a large proportion of their lives is conducted inside virtual spaces.

Now if criminals were preying on our children the police would soon be on to it. But that's not the case with this sort of fraud, is it.

These people really have direct access to the very core of our lives. They might as well be standing at the school gates stealing dinner money, or pick-pocketing us in the street. Just because it's on-line doesn't mean it isn't real. Just ask your kids: ask the people you flirt with via email.

You know, in some respects the world is now as nasty and as dangerous a place as it has ever been.

2 Comments:

  • Funny how often the con-artist is portrayed sympathetically on film and tv.

    And gambling, too, which is a seedy and destructive habit, is given the same teflon glamour coating, concealing the fact that people - teenagers, adults - are throwing away vast sums of money to feed an addiction.

    Playing on-line poker is as nasty an activity as playing 3-card brag in your lunch break, and losing all your wages to your workmates, as my big brother used to do.

    Both activities, gambling and fraud, prey on the gullible, the greedy, and the foolish.

    By Blogger bot37363838, at 2:53 am  

  • I've received two emails in the past week, purportedly from Chase Manhattan Bank, that point to p7.hostingprod.com - I've never done business with Chase so this was immediately suspicious. I contacted the bank, they said they have no idea what was going on.

    So then I get into my old-skool hacker tool links, bring up www.internic.com, and do a whois on hostingprod.com - turns out this domain is owned by a company called MarkMonitor (www.markmonitor.com) which is in the business of fraud prevention and detection! They're supposedly working with Microsoft to stop spam emails and phishing schemes! Oh the hilarity!

    I immediately grabbed the phone numbers for Chase, MarkMonitor, the US Attorney's office and the RI Attorney General.

    As a person who was a hacker in his youth, I know the limits of what you can do legally and I always stuck to 'the hacker ethic' which is to do no harm to others in any way during your exploration. In my eyes, this company is bordering on breaking that golden rule and I have no sympathy or shame in turning them in.

    By Anonymous Scoopster, at 2:37 pm  

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