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Vulnerabilities / Threats

4/24/2007
09:35 AM
50%
50%

Dial '72-Duh'

Stupid phishing tricks 101: This new scam is a little too forward

5:35 PM -- There haven't been many creative phishing schemes publicized lately, or maybe it's just that we've become so jaded we hardly notice them anymore. But a new one discovered by SecureWorks is both transparent and tricky at the same time, and apparently effective enough to have several variants still swimming around.

It works like this: The phisher, posing as a bank, emails the victim and asks him to verify his phone number with the bank immediately or risk suspension of his account. (Of course it's perfectly normal for your bank to confirm your phone number and threaten suspension of your account if you don't cooperate. Happens all the time.)

The instructions read very, um, officially:

  • Step 1- Go to your phone and Dial *72
  • Step 2- Dial 7075314910 (XYZ Bank Secure Line)
  • Step 3- Your phone is confirmed
  • You will receive a call from us in 1 h for final verification!
  • If you have confirmed you phone you can continue the update process

    The remainder of the update process is providing their personal information on an official-looking form on the page -- Social Security number, bank account number, credit card number, yada, yada, yada.

    Now, if you have call forwarding on your land line, you may recognize "72" as a common code for that service. So the victim is forwarding his or her calls to the phisher's number (in this case, in Germany). What good does that do the phisher? Well, if the bank gets suspicious about particular transactions, say thousands of dollars wired to an offshore account, and it tries to contact the account-holder, it gets the phisher on the phone instead.

    SecureWorks says this scam was shut down this morning by an ISP, and the phone number killed by the telco, but that it's confident variants of this scam that use call forwarding are still in use out there -- likely with more complex call-forwarding numbers.

    Besides the obvious HELLO, DON'T OPEN SUSPICIOUS EMAILS, ESPECIALLY ONES WITH MISSPELLINGS -- or -- HELLO, DON'T GIVE UP PERSONAL DATA ONLINE advice for avoiding this scam, what's the best clue that you've been hit with it?

    No phone calls.

    — Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • SecureWorks Inc.

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