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Guest Blog // Selected Security Content Provided By Sophos
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7/29/2009
06:06 AM
Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
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West African 419 Scammers Exploit Dilbert

The Dilbert comic strip is loved around the world for its satirical look at life in the corporate office. But now identity thieves and scammers are exploiting the popular Dilbert.com Website in their hunt for potential victims.

The Dilbert comic strip is loved around the world for its satirical look at life in the corporate office. But now identity thieves and scammers are exploiting the popular Dilbert.com Website in their hunt for potential victims.Take a look at one of the recent messages Sophos has caught in its spam traps:

Dilbert 419 scam

These type of scams, commonly known as a 419 scam (named after the relevant section of the Nigerian penal code where many of the scams originated), are unsolicited email messages in which the author typically offers a large amount of money. Once a victim has been drawn in, requests are made from the fraudster for private information, which may lead to requests for money, stolen identities, and financial theft.

In this case the criminals are abusing the "share-a-comic-strip" feature on Dilbert.com, used by thousands of people every day to send their favorite Dilbert cartoon to friends and colleagues.

The scammers are taking advantage of the Website's facility to include a personal message alongside the cartoon, in the hope that antispam filters at the recipient's company will not intercept it.

Most people with an email account have probably received messages claiming they have won a fortune, or asking them to enter a business relationship to move funds out of a country. It may be hard to believe that people fall for this type of crime, but it continues to happen.

And now scammers are picking on Dilbert. Who's next? Charlie Brown? Regardless, stay sharp because falling for the scam would be no laughing matter.

Graham Cluley is senior technology consultant at Sophos, and has been working in the computer security field since the early 1990s. When he's not updating his other blog on the Sophos website, you can find him on Twitter at @gcluley. Special to Dark Reading.

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