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Shipping Goes Phishing

Thursday, December 08, 2011

As the holiday season rolls around, more online purchases are being made. Shipping gifts and sending items through the mail can be quite convenient and easy; however this opens up opportunities for online scammers, including phishing.

Phishing is the act of ‘fishing’ for personal information through the World Wide Web. Many of these attempts come through email, which is precisely what a particular UPS phishing scam is doing. According to antispam vendor Cloudmark, this phishing scam has been floating around since the beginning of November. As the holiday fast approaches, the reports are greatly increasing. Unfortunately, this kind of scam doesn’t go away, and it increases in cleverness as technology moves forward.

How phishing works: Under normal circumstances, when a product is ordered online, a shipping confirmation is sent to the user’s email once the product has been sent out for shipping. In this phishing case, a fake email is sent to the user that appears to be sent from UPS. The ‘From’ address looks like a UPS employee’s email and the email may have UPS branding throughout. However, attached with the email, is a .zip file that contains a virus which can harm your computer. There may also be a ‘Track Your Shipment’ link which is similar to what may be seen in a real UPS email. This link in the fake email will just bring you to an infected webpage which can harm your computer. These kinds of attempts are found all over and impersonate several different companies, not just UPS.

Fortunately, most antispam and antivirus programs pick up on this and warn the user before they may make the mistake. As the holiday approaches and progresses, take conservative steps when making purchases online. If something seems suspicious before, during, or after the purchase, it’s best to stop what you’re doing and call someone with the company you are working with to get confirmation.

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