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ABSA Phishing Scam Emails

Outline
Emails purporting to be from South African bank, ABSA, claim that recipients must validate their Banking Profile or confirm their identity by following links in the messages.



Brief Analysis
The emails are not from ABSA. In fact, the messages are phishing scams designed to steal personal and financial information from ABSA customers.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 7th December 2011
First published: 10th May 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Examples
Subject: Banking Service Alert

Dear Customer,

Attention! Your ABSA online banking access has been violated. We suspected someone other than you with IP 178.210.92.56 trying to access your informations.

Please verify your banking information with us to show that you are not currently away.
You have to verify this as soon as possible to prevent your online bank account from getting blocked

Restore your Access

This email was sent from ABSA secure server and is done for your protection.


Subject: Online Banking Message

Dear ABSA Customer,

As part of our ongoing commitment to provide the Best Possible service and protection to all our customers, we require every member to validate their Internet Banking Profile using our safe SSL servers.

You are required to adhere to this as soon as possible

Please click here [Link removed] to begin the process.

Thank You

Note* You are advised to match your account details correctly to avoid future service denial. We may call you to verify any information and such calls may include computer-generated speech.

It is all about keeping you safe Online.

ABSA


Subject: Banking Upgrade Notice

Dear Customer,

ABSA have been receiving complaints from our customers about unauthorised use of their Internet Bank Account. We have sent you this message because we noticed some invalid login attempts into your Internet Bank Account and have therefore limited certain banking features until we confirm your identity.

Remove this Limitation

Please adhere to this feature to prevent temporary account suspension.
Fraud Prevention Unit

ABSA



Detailed Analysis
ABSA Phishing Scam Email
Customers of large South African bank, ABSA, have been almost continually targeted by phishing scammers since at least May 2011 . A spate of emails purporting to be from the bank have informed recipients that they are required to "validate their Internet Banking Profile" as a security measure. Other versions claim that the customer's Internet banking access has been limited due to invalid login attempts. A more recent variant claimed that teh recipient's ABSA account had been "violated". All versions urge the recipient to follow a link, ostensibly to rectify the perceived issue.

However, the emails are not from ABSA. In fact, they are typical phishing scams designed to extract sensitive personal and financial information from unwary ABSA customers. Those who click the link in the scam emails will be taken to a fake website designed to replicate the genuine ABSA login page. Once they have entered their login details, they may then be taken to a fake web form that asks them to provide credit card and other financial information along with address and contact details and other private information. All information submitted on the fake site, including the customer's login credentials can be subsequently collected by Internet criminals and used for financial fraud and identity theft. Once they have procured the customer's login details, the scammers can then hijack the customer's real ABSA account.

The examples shown above are just two in a series of scam emails that have targeted ABSA customers in recent months. ABSA will never send you an email requesting you to complete your personal details by clicking a link. In fact, no legitimate bank is likely to contact customers via an unsolicited email of this nature. Be wary of any email from your bank or other financial institution that claims that you must follow a link or open an attachment to validate your account or update information.

Phishing is a very common type of Internet scam that continues to victimize unsuspecting Internet users all around the world. If you are unclear on how phishing scammers operate, it is important that you gain the necessary knowledge as soon as possible so that you can effectively protect yourself against such scam attacks.

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References
ABSA Security Center - Phishing Scams
Phishing Scams - Anti-Phishing Information



Last updated: 7th December 2011
First published: 10th May 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer