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World’s worst phishing attempt?

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Tuesday February 9, 2010 )

I have a love/hate relationship with spam and phishing emails. It’s usually the latter but sometimes an attempt by a phisher is so pathetic, it makes me laugh. Like this one I received today.

Firstly the following message had about a hundred other folks’ email addresses in the cc line. Then there’s the message itself.

–Pathetic phishing attempt begins

PayPal is investigating avtivity on your PayPal account
Use the link bellow to verify it.

Transaction ID: 62N75953RL6457333
Pay Pal IP: 12.234.56
Your transaction ID: 2YG637001D060160G
Case number: PP-855-782-542

To sign in just click on link bellow . . .

Thank you for your cooperation with our investigation.
Please let us know if this was your expenditure.

Please do not reply to this email. This mailbox is not monitored and you
will not receive a response.

Hotmail: Trusted email with Microsoft’s powerful SPAM protection. Sign up now.

—Pathetic phishing attempt ends

OK, so “” wasn’t the real domain, but it was something equally lame. This guy (or gal) obviously didn’t do to well in his or her “Phishing 101” classes. URL aside – there’s the spelling and grammatical mistakes, the “Hotmail” footer – heck, this one has them all!

As funny as this attempt was, other phishing emails can be very sophisticated and anything coming from a company asking you to click on a HTML link that will take you to an account login screen should be treated with suspicion.

You can look at the source code of the email to determine if the link will actually take you to where it says it will or check the email headers (in Outlook, highlight the message in your inbox and select “options”) for the details of the server from which the email originated, but the safest bet is always just to go to the company’s site and log in from there.

Phishing prevention is important for all Internet users, but especially for online merchants. Imagine a hacker running around loose in your business systems – it could ruin all your hard work in building your business very quickly.


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