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Expired Visa Card Notification Phishing Scam

Summary:
Email claims that the recipient's Visa account has expired and warns that, to stop the account being closed, he or she must renew it immediately by following a link in the message (Full commentary below).



Status:
Email is a phishing scam designed to steal credit card information

Example:(Submitted, April 2009)
Subject: VISA CARD NOTICE

Visa logo removed

Dear Client,

Your VISA account has expired. You must renew it immediately or your account will be closed. If you intend to use this service in the future, you must take action at once!

To continue click here, login to your VISA account and follow the steps.
Link to fake website removed

Thank you for using VISA!
VISA Services DEP.



Commentary:
This email, which purports to be from credit card provider Visa, claims that the recipient's account has expired and he or she must renew it immediately or the account will be closed. The message instructs the recipient to click a link, ostensibly to login and start the Visa account renewal procedure.

However, the message is not from Visa. Instead, it is a phishing scam designed to steal the recipient's account information. Those who click on the link as instructed will be taken to a web page that asks for a card number, expiration date and PIN, supposedly as a means of verifying the account for renewal. Although the bogus web page includes a seemingly genuine Visa logo, it has no connection whatsoever to any genuine Visa website. All account details and other personal information entered into the bogus site can be subsequently collected by Internet criminals. Once in possession of these account details, the scammers are then able to use the victim's account to purchase items, send funds to other accounts and various other fraudulent activities. The following image displays a screenshot of the bogus web page:

Visa Scam Website

Such scam messages often try to invoke a sense of urgency by claiming that the recipient must take action straight away or risk the closure of the account or other penalties. This ruse is intended to panic the recipient into handing over his or her details without thinking about the possible consequences.

Internet users should be very cautious of any unsolicited email that asks them to click a link and provide confidential information such as credit card numbers and PIN's. No legitimate provider is ever likely to request such information via an unsolicited email. Visa has published information warning consumers about such phishing scams on its website.

Internet scammers regularly target many different financial institutions and use a great variety of cover stories to fool victims into following the instructions contained in their scam messages. Phishing is one of the most common types of online crime and all Internet users should be sure to make themselves aware of how phishing scammers operate.

Click here for more information about phishing scams



References:
Visa - Email Fraud Protection
Phishing Scams - Anti-Phishing Information

Last updated: 8th April 2009
First published: 8th April 2009

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen

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