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Issue 116 - July 2011 - Page 15

Western Union 'Too Many Login Attempts' Phishing Scam

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Outline
Email purporting to be from money wire service Western Union claims that the recipient's account has been locked due to "multiple failed login attempts" and that the recipient must login via a link in the message and answer questions in order to restore account access.



Brief Analysis
The email is not from Western Union. In fact, the message is a phishing scam designed to steal account login details and credit card information from Western Union customers.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 6th June 2011
First published: 6th June 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Subject: Account locked due to too many login attempts.

Western Union Phishing Scam Email




Detailed Analysis
According to this email, which claims to be from money wire service Western Union, the recipient's Western Union account has been locked because the company's "Online Security System" has detected multiple failed login attempts. The message claims that the security system has temporarily locked the account as a security measure and instructs the recipient to click a link to follow the "account unlocking procedure".

However, the email is certainly not from Western Union and the claim that the recipient's account has been locked is untrue. In fact, the message is a phishing scam designed to allow Internet criminals to steal account login credentials and credit card details from Western Union customers.

Those who fall for the ruse and click the link in the message are taken to a fraudulent website login page designed to mirror the appearance of the real Western Union website. After they provide their Western Union username and password on the fake site, they are then taken to a second bogus webpage where they are asked to provide credit card information, supposedly as a means of verifying their identity. Once the bogus "verification" process is completed, the bogus site automatically redirects to the real Western Union website, possibly leaving victims completely unaware that they have just handed over their account and credit card details to online fraudsters.

Armed with this stolen information, the scammers can then login to the victim's real Western Union account, collect other personal and financial information stored there and use the account for further fraudulent activities. They also have the victim's credit card details, which they can use for credit card fraud or sell to other criminals.

As in many other phishing scam attempts, the scammers have mirrored the company's logos, colour scheme and usual formatting on both the scam email and the fake web pages. The email is in fact one large graphic rather than text, possibly in an attempt to avoid phishing filters. In a further attempt to put potential victims off the scent, the scammers have used a web address for their fake website that is very similar to the genuine Western Union site address.

However, also like many other phishing scams, the fake site does not use a secure (https:) page for its supposed verification form. Any page that asks for financial information such as credit card details on a non-secure site should be treated with suspicion.

Western Union customers have been regularly targeted by phishing scammers in the past. Western Union will not send you an unsolicited email asking for your login and credit card details.

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References
Phishing Scams - Anti-Phishing Information
Difference Between http & https
Western Union Unauthorized Transaction Phishing Scam
Western Union - Protect Yourself from Fraud



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Issue 116 Start Menu

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. Amazing Hand Paintings The Work of Artist Guido Daniele
  2. F-Secure 'Security Maintenance' Password Phishing Scam
  3. No Ordinary Bus - Robert Mugabe's Luxury Bus Protest Message
  4. Rugby World Cup Advance Fee Lottery Scam
  5. South African Giant Rats Risk Alert
  6. McDonald's 'Free Dinner Day' Malware Email
  7. Overblown Facebook Warning: Remove All Profile Pics With Kids
  8. Exhibit B-5 Viral Video - Girl Gets Hit By Car After Prank Goes Wrong
  9. Sheikh Zayed House Hoax
  10. Lightning Storm Meets Volcanic Eruption Photos
  11. Facebook Warning - Applications Sending Porno Messages in Your Name
  12. Paypal 'Strange IP from a Different Location' Phishing Scam
  13. Black Van Child Abduction Alert - Number Plate Ending With 03A
  14. 'New Way to Hack Your Face Book' Warning Message
  15. Western Union 'Too Many Login Attempts' Phishing Scam
  16. Domain Name Application Scam
  17. Direct TV Treatment of Joplin Tornado Victims Protest Message
  18. Diversity Visa Lottery Green Card Scam
  19. Becoming a Father or Mother Facebook Group Pedophile Warning Hoax
  20. Elephant 'Road Rage' in South Africa