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Issue 120 - November 2011 - Page 8

Westpac 'Quick Survey' Phishing Scam

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Outline
Email purporting to be from Australia's Westpac Bank claims that the recipient can have $35 credited to their account in exchange for filling in a short survey contained in an attached file.



Brief Analysis
The email is not from Westpac. The bogus survey in the attached file is designed to trick recipients into divulging their credit card details and other personal information to cybercriminals.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 20th October 2011
First published: 20th October 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Dear Westpac Bank Customer,

Westpac Bank will add $35.00 AUD credit to your account just for taking part in our quick 5 question survey.
Download Survey and complete the form.It's fast and easy!

[Screenshots of attached HTML file]







Detailed Analysis
This email, which purports to be from large Australian bank, Westpac, promises recipients an easy $35 just for participating in a "quick 5 question survey." To receive the $35, recipients are asked to open an attached HTML file which opens in their web browser. As the above screenshots reveal, recipients are then asked to fill in the "survey" as well as provide a large amount of personal information. They are also asked to provide credit card details, ostensibly so that the promised survey fee can be credited to their accounts.

However, the email is certainly not from Westpac and the promised survey fee is nothing more than the bait designed to trick unsuspecting recipients into handing over their details to Internet criminals. Those who fill in the bogus form and click the "Submit" button will in fact be sending their personal information directly to phishing scammers. Once they have collected their victim's information, these criminals can use it to commit credit card fraud and identity theft.

Such survey phishing scams have become a common scammer ruse in recent years. Similar fake survey offers have falsely claimed to come from numerous other high profile companies and institutions, including McDonald's, Coca Cola and the UK Post Office. Other versions take a more generic approach by claiming to be a random survey conducted by a marketing company.

Some versions, including this one, put the bogus survey in an attached file, apparently in an effort to avoid browser phishing protection mechanisms. Others contain a link to a bogus website that includes the fake survey.

Users should be wary of any unsolicited message that promises them a sizable cash payment for participating in an insignificant survey. No company is ever likely to offer such sums to large numbers of participants in exchange for filling in such brief surveys. Moreover, no legitimate company is ever likely to ask recipients to submit personal and financial information via an unsecure web form, be it contained in an attached file or hosted on a website. If you receive one of these bogus survey offers, do not open any attachments or follow any links that it may contain. Do not reply to the email.

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References
McDonald's Survey Phishing Scam Email
Coca Cola Survey Phishing Scam
UK Post Office Online Reward Program Phishing Scam
Quick And Easy Survey Phishing Scam
Difference Between http & https



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Issue 120 Start Menu

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. Facebook 'Add Pink Tinge to Your Profile' Virus Warning
  2. Hoax - UNICEF Receives 5 Euros Every Time You Share a Picture
  3. False Warnings - 'Cleaning out Friends List' Questions on Facebook Contain Viruses or are Posted by Hackers
  4. Image of Police Officer Macing a Child
  5. Hoax - SPCA South Africa is Closing Down
  6. Facebook '1 Lost Message' Pharmacy Spam Email
  7. Energy Saver Globe Warning Message - Mercury Exposure Foot Injury Images
  8. Westpac 'Quick Survey' Phishing Scam
  9. Free Heart Surgery for Children - Facebook Share
  10. Brighton Area 'Black or Dark Blue Dodge Caravan' Child Abduction Rumour
  11. Hoax Warning - 300km Winds for Johannesburg Region This Weekend
  12. Bogus Windows Firewall and Security Center Update Email Links To Malware
  13. Facebook Prayer Request For Baby Found in the Bin
  14. BlackBerry Messenger Resend to Save Account Hoax
  15. AT&T Phishing Scam
  16. Bill Cosby - 'I'm 76 and I'm Tired'
  17. Boy Shot By Step Dad Charity Hoax