Issue 9 - Hoax-Slayer Newsletter
Issue 9: January 30th, 2004
This week in Hoax-Slayer:
FDIC Email Scam
Unlike phishing scams that target specific banks or financial
institutions, this one endeavours to target as wide an audience
as possible by pretending to be from the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation (FDIC). The FDIC is a US government agency that
insures bank accounts, so most people who have a bank account
would be indirect clients of the agency via their bank.
This phishing scam attempts to trick recipients into visiting a
bogus website to "verify" their identity. If people follow the
link in the fraudulent email, they are taken to a site designed
to look like the official FDIC site.
The email tries to scare people into supplying personal information
on the bogus site by telling them that they are under investigation
by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security "due to
suspected violations of the Patriot Act." This frightening claim
may be enough to entice na´ve individuals into supplying information
at the fraudulent website in order to clear their name and stop any
A press release
from the FBI and FDIC states in part:
This email was not sent by the FDIC and is a fraudulent attempt
to obtain personal information from consumers. Financial
institutions and consumers should NOT access the link provided
within the body of the email and should NOT under any circumstances
provide any personal information through this media.
Example of this scam email:
To whom it may concern;
In cooperation with the Department Of Homeland Security, Federal,
State and Local Governments your account has been denied insurance
from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation due to suspected
violations of the Patriot Act. While we have only a limited amount
of evidence gathered on your account at this time it is enough to
suspect that currency violations may have occurred in your account
and due to this activity we have withdrawn Federal Deposit
Insurance on your account until we verify that your account has not
been used in a violation of the Patriot Act.
As a result Department Of Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge has
advised the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to suspend all
deposit insurance on your account until such time as we can verify
your identity and your account information.
Please verify through our IDVerify below. This information will be
checked against a federal government database for identity
verification. This only takes up to a minute and when we have
verified your identity you will be notified of said verification
and all suspensions of insurance on your account will be
Failure to use IDVerify below will cause all insurance for your
account to be terminated and all records of your account history
will be sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington
D.C. for analysis and verification. Failure to provide proper
identity may also result in a visit from Local, State or Federal
Government or Homeland Security Officials.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
Donald E. Powell
Chairman Emeritus FDIC
John D. Hawke, Jr.
Comptroller of the Currency
Michael E. Bartell
Chief Information Officer
Mobile Phone Cameras and Credit Cards
The following email is going the rounds at the moment. The
information *may* be true, but I'm not sure how big a security
risk this would actually pose. I would have thought that the
person using the phone would have to stand pretty close to you in
order to take a legible picture of you credit card. As an
experiment, I tried taking a photo of my own card in a mock
shopping situation with my digital camera. There is no way that
I could read the numbers on the card from a photo snapped while
the card was sitting on the "counter" waiting to be scanned nor
over the shoulder of a person holding the card, even when using the
zoom function. My camera is by no means top of the range, but it
certainly has better resolution than your average cell phone camera.
Of course, I *could* take a clear picture of the card, but I'm not
sure how I could do this without the owner of the card being
aware of it. I would have to get the camera pretty close to the
card, to get a clear picture.
I'm not dismissing this out of hand, as I guess it might be possible
to distract the card owner enough to snap a quick close up shot.
Also,mobile phone technology is changing rapidly. Tomorrow's phones
*might* have the necessary resolution to easily take card shots that
could be deciphered later.
Right now however, I would not consider phone cameras a significant
threat when it comes to stealing credit card information. Mind you,
"be aware of your surroundings" is actually quite good advice when it
comes to your personal security.
Keep a watch out for people standing near you at retail stores,
restaurants, grocery stores, etc., that have a cell phone in hand.
With the new camera cell phones, they can take a picture of your
credit card, which gives them your name, number, and expiration date.
Identification theft is one of the fastest growing scams today, and
this is just another example of the means that are being used. So...
be aware of your surroundings.
Teddy Bear Hoax Revisited
Apparently the Teddy Bear Hoax is still going strong. The updated
version of the hoax reproduced below turned up on an online forum.
This hoax is a little more harmful than your average email hoax in
that it can trick unwary computer users into deleting "jdbgmgr.exe",
a legitimate Windows file.
Luckily, deleting this file will not cause problems for the average
end user. The file is the Microsoft Debugger Registrar for Java,
which is used only by Microsoft Visual J++ 1.1 developers. However,
email hoaxes like this and the sulfnbk.exe email hoax set up a
dangerous precedent. Given the amount of computer users that have a
already deleted "jdbgmgr.exe", an email hoax that advised people to
delete a crucial Windows file could cause as much damage as a real
Read more about the original version.
Example of current version:
I received this message below and DID have the jdbgm virus file in my
C drive, I followed the instructions below and deleted it. I suggest
you also check by following the instructions below. Kindest regards,
To all parties in our address book:
We received this message from someone else today...
On January 15th or there about we received a virus that automatically
is past through e-mail address books. We found it in our c-drive.
Since you are in our address book, you will probably find it in your
computer too. The virus called jdbe.exe is not detected by Norton or
McAfee anti-virus systems. The virus sits quietly for 14 days before
damaging the system. It is sent automatically by "messenger" and by
address book whether or not you sent e-mail to your contacts. Here is
how to check
for the virus and how to get rid of it.
PLEASE DO THE FOLLOWING ASAP:
1 Go to the Start, then click your "find" or "search" option.
2. In the folder option, type the name jdbgm
3. Be sure to search your C drive (this is where I found it) and all
the sub folders and other drives you may have
4. Click "find now"
5. the virus has a teddy bear icon! with the name jdbgmgr.exe. DO NOT
6. Go to Edit (on the menu bar) and choose "select all" to highlight
the file without opening it.
7. Now go to the File (on your menu bar) and select delete. The virus
will then go to the recycle bin.
*** If you find the virus, you must contact all the people in your
address book so that they may eradicate the virus from their own
To do this:
1. Open a new e-mail message
2. Click the icon address book (contacts) next to "To"
3. Highlight every name and add to "BCC"
4. Copy the message and paste to e-mail
SORRY ABOUT THIS
More Nigerian Scam Emails
Every week, several Nigerian scam emails cross my spam account
inbox. They just keep coming and coming and they are still
claiming victims. I saw on the news recently that a person in a
neighbouring town lost his life savings to a Nigerian scam like
the one below.
I can't say I have all that much sympathy really. Even if the
stories in these scam emails were actually true, it would still
be a pretty shady undertaking. After all, the scammers are
basically asking you to help them steal sums of money that is
not rightfully theirs to begin with. Those who fall for this
scam obviously believe the circumstances and sums of money
outlined in the emails to be real and therefore are quite willing
to enter into a deal that is pretty clearly illegal in any case.
A typical example of the Nigerian scam emails that I regularly
FROM: CHARLES OKOYE (MANAGER)
URGENT BUSINESS PROPOSAL
ATTN:MANAGING DIRECTOR /CEO.
First I must solicit your confidence in this transaction, this is by
virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential and top secret.
Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one
apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that all will be well
at the end of the day. We have decided to contact you due to the
urgency of this transaction, as we have been reliably informed of
your discreetness and ability in transaction of this nature.
Let me start by introducing myself properly to you. I am CHARLES
OKOYE the manager with the Zenith Bank Plc, Lagos. I came to know you
in my Private Search for a Reliable and Reputable Person to handle
this Confidential Transaction, which involves the transfer of Huge
sum of Money to a Foreign Account requiring Maximum Confidence.
A Foreigner an Australia, Late Engr. Steve Moore (Snr.) an Oil
Merchant with the Federal Government of Nigeria, until his death
months ago in Kenya Air Bus (A310-300) Flight KQ431, Banked with us
at Zenith Bank Plc, Lagos and had a closing balance as at the end of
September, 2000 worth US$15,000,000(fifteen million United State
Dollars), The bank now expects a next of kin as beneficiary. Valuable
efforts are being made by the Zenith Bank Plc to get in touch with
any of the Moore's family or relatives but to no success.
It is because of the perceived possibility of not being able to
locate any of Late Engr. Steve Moore (Snr.)' s next kin (He had no
wife or children that is know to us). The Management under the
influence of our Chairman and Members of the Board of Directors, that
arrange has been made for the fund to be declared "Unclaimed" and
subsequently be donated to the trust fund for arms and ammunition to
further enhance the course of War in Africa and the World in General.
In order to avert this negative development some of my trusted
colleagues and I now seek your permission to have you stand as next
of kin to Late Engr. Steve Moore (Snr.) so that the fund US$15
million will be released and paid into your account as the
beneficiary's next of kin. All documents and proves to enable you get
his fund will be carefully worked out. We have secure from the
probate, an order of madamus to locate any of the deceased
beneficiaries, and more so we are assuring you that this business is
100% Risk Free involvement. Your share stays while the rest be for
myself and my colleagues for investment purpose. According to
agreement within both parties.
As soon as we receive an acknowledgement of receipt of this message
in acceptance of our mutual busines proposal, we would furnish you
with the necessry modalities and disbursement ratio to suite both
parties with out any conflict. While replying furnish me with your
private fax and phone numbers for easy communication.
If this proposal is acceptable by you, do not make
undue advantage of the trust we have bestowed in you.
please reply me through this email box:[EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED]
Security Software: Spybot Search and Destroy
Spybot Search and Destroy is an excellent freeware program that will
detect and deal with spyware and diallers that may be present on your
computer. In my opinion, Spybot SandD is a crucial addition to your
computer security arsenal. The program has a built in update
function that allows you to download the latest include files and
program updates quickly and easily. Although I also use Lavasoft's
Ad-Aware to double-check my systems for spyware, I believe Spybot to
be the superior product. Scanning is comparatively fast, and the
user interface is well-presented and simple to use. Spybot has
proven itself to be quite a stable product on both my Windows XP
and Windows 98 systems.
Quoted from the developer's site:
Spybot - Search and Destroy can detect and remove spyware of different
kinds from your computer. Spyware is a relatively new kind of threat
that common anti-virus applications do not yet cover. If you see new
toolbars in your Internet Explorer that you didn't intentionally
install, if your browser crashes, or if you browser start page has
changed without your knowing, you most probably have spyware. But
even if you don't see anything, you may be infected, because more
and more spyware is emerging that is silently tracking your surfing
behaviour to create a marketing profile of you that will be sold to
Find out more about Spybot Search and Destroy
Trivia: MS Word Trick
This is an interesting little trick if you have Microsoft Word
2000. I can't be sure if this works in the new versions of Word,
but I know it works in Word 2000. Perhaps someone using a later
version of Word could let me know?
1. Open a blank MS Word document.
2. Enter "=rand(10,9)" without the quotes, and press the "enter"
You can alter the numbers in the round brackets to vary the
This information often circulates via email with the added
disclaimer that "not even Microsoft can explain the result".
Some of the emails also falsly claim that Microsoft is offering a
large cash prize for anyone who can shed light on this trick.
In fact, it is a documented feature of Word 2000 that simply
allows sample text to be quickly added to a document for testing
purposes. Microsoft can in fact "explain the result" and do so
in this article
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©Brett M. Christensen, 2008
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