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Why am I being spammed by the American Bar Association?

IANAL — I am not an attorney. I’ve never studied law, or even been inside a law school. I have a cousin who is an attorney, and quite a few close friends. But IANAL.

So why am I on the American Bar Association’s email list? I am not a member of the ABA. Why are they sending me a credit-card offer? It boggles the mind. One would assume that the ABA is not so desperate for funds that it would have to rent mailing lists to spam with credit-card offers.

And it’s not like I could sue them, right? Sigh.

Oooh, it’s my first scam spam citing the Trump Administration

This is a great piece of unclaimed-money spam. Normally I redact the email addresses – but these are far too juicy to censor, especially the “from” address. Merely because the spam links to a genuine web page, such as this bio for Secretary Mnuchin or a report about Saddam Hussein from the BBC, doesn’t make the email itself valid. In this case, it’s certainly not valid. (And please hold the snarky comments about government officials using non-government email accounts.)

When you receive messages like this, delete them. Never reply, even to ask to unsubscribe or to berate the scammer, because that indicates to the scammers that they’ve found a valid email address, and demonstrates you actually read spam messages. That makes you much more valuable, so you’ll receive even more scammy spams.

From: Steven Terner Mnuchin email hidden; JavaScript is required

Dear Beneficiary,

I am Steven Terner Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury under the U.S. Department of the Treasury. You can get more details about me here on the link below;

https://www.treasury.gov/about/Pages/Secretary.aspx 

At the recently concluded meeting with the World Bank and the United Nations, an agreement was reached between both parties for us to settle all outstanding payments accrued to individuals/corporations with respect to local and overseas contract payment, debt re-scheduling and outstanding compensation payment. Fortunately, you have been selected alongside a few other beneficiaries to receive your own payment of $10.5million (Ten Million five hundred thousand United States Dollars only).

We have been notified that you are yet to receive your fund valued at $10.5million This money will now be transferred to your nominated bank account through our foreign bank unit in South East Asia Phnom Penh Cambodia.

You are advised to kindly reply this email with the below details enclosed to help us process your payment through our foreign payment bank in Cambodia.

(1) Full Names:

(2) Residential Address:

(3) Country of Residence:

(4) Age:

(5) Phone/Cell Number:

(6) Occupation:

Yours faithfully,

Steven Terner Mnuchin

Secretary of the Treasury

(U.S. Department of the Treasury)

Contact email; email hidden; JavaScript is required

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New phishing scam referencing a company called FrontStream

We received this realistic-looking email today claiming to be from a payment company called FrontStream. If you click the links, it tries to get you to active an account and provide bank details. However… We never requested an account from this company. Therefore, we label it phishing — and an attempt to defraud.

If you receive a message like this, delete it. Don’t click any of the links, and don’t reply to it either. You’ve been warned.

From: billing [email address at frontstream.com]
Sent: Wed, Mar 22, 2017 10:34 am
Subject: New Account Ready for Activation

Dear [redacted],

Your account is now available at our FrontStream Invoicing Website for you to view your existing outstanding invoices and make payment. You can directly activate your account here:

[link redacted]

Or you can go to the FrontStream Invoicing website [link redacted], select ‘REGISTER’ option and go through the activation process. Below is your detailed account information from our record. They’re required in order to complete your account activation.

Customer Number: [redacted]

Phone Number: [redacted]

Activation Code: [redacted]

Sincerely,

Accounts Receivable

UPDATE MARCH 22

I tweeted about this blog post, and @FrontStream replied:

@zeichick Sorry for the confusion! The email was sent in error from our customer invoicing system. We’ll be following up with more details.

Given that we aren’t a FrontStream customer, this is peculiar. Will update again if there are more details.

UPDATE MARCH 27

Nothing more from FrontStream.

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Phishing and ransomware attacks against you and your company are getting smarter

Everyone has received those crude emails claiming to be from your bank’s “Secuirty Team” that tells you that you need to click a link to “reset you account password.” It’s pretty easy to spot those emails, with all the misspellings, the terrible formatting, and the bizarre “reply to” email addresses at domains halfway around the world. Other emails of that sort ask you to review an unclothed photo of a A-list celebrity, or open up an attached document that tells you what you’ve won.

We can laugh. However, many people fall for those phishing scams — and willingly surrender their bank account numbers and passwords, or install malware, such as ransomware.

Less obvious, and more effective, are attacks that are carefully crafted to appeal to a high-value individual, such as a corporate executive or systems administrator. Despite their usual technological sophistication, anyone can be fooled, if the spearphishing email is good enough – spearphishing being the term for phishing emails designed specifically to entrap a certain person.

What’s the danger? Plenty. Spearphishing emails that pretend to be from the CEO can convince a corporate accounting manager to wire money to an overseas account. Called the “Wire Transfer Scam,” this has been around for several years and still works, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, said the FBI.

Read more in my latest for Zonic News, “Phishing and Spearphishing: Delivery Vehicles for Ransomware, Theft and More.”

Why does the FTC spammer have an email address at my domain?

This is a good one. The spam message was short and sweet:

From: Richard Kent email hidden; JavaScript is required

Subj: You’ve been subpoenaed by the FTC.

You’ve been subpoenaed by the FTC.

FTC Subpoena

Please get back to me about this.

Thank you
Richard Kent
Senior Accountant
email hidden; JavaScript is required

The words “FTC Subpoena” were hyperlinked to a server in Vietnam. Ha ha ha. I’m sure the Federal Trade Commission has document servers in the U.S., perhaps with a .gov top-level domain. If that wasn’t bad enough, however, why was the alleged senior accountant using an email address at camdenassociates.com, which is my own domain? My bet is that the spammers thought that Camden Associates is a huge company, and perhaps I’d think that Richard was one of my employees? Uh, no.

Don’t click on links in messages like this, and don’t reply either. Simply delete them, or mark as spam (to help train your email system).

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Spammers really want to give me a BMW, but aren’t sure of the year or model

bmw-530iMrs. Rachael Adams is back, and still wants to give me a fine Bavarian automobile. But is it a 7-series or a 5-series? Is it a 2015 or 2016 model? Doesn’t matter – it’s a scam. Just like the one a few weeks ago, also from Mrs. Adams, but at least that one was clearer about the vehicle. Hey, it’s the same reg code pin as last time, too. See “A free BMW 7-Series car – and a check for $1.5 million!

All these “you are a winner” lottery emails are scams. Don’t reply to them, simply delete them.

From: Mrs. Rachael Adams

Subject: BMW LOTTERY PROMOTIONS.

BMW LOTTERY DEPARTMENT
5070 WILSHIRE BLVD
LOS ANGELES. CA 90036
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

NOTE: If you received this message in your SPAM/BULK folder, that is because of the restrictions implemented by your Internet Service Provider, we (BMW) urge you to treat it genuinely.

Dear Winner,

This is to inform you that you have been selected for a prize of a brand new 2015/2016 Model BMW 7 Series Car and a Check of $1,500,000.00 USD from the international balloting programs held on the 2nd section in the UNITED STATE OF AMERICA.

Description of prize vehicle;

Model: 530iA Color (exterior): Metallic Silver Mileage: 5 Transmission: Automatic 6 Speed

Options: Cold weather package, premium package, fold down rear seats w/ski bag, am fm stereo with single in dash compact disc player.

The selection process was carried out through random selection in our computerized email selection system (ESS) from a database of over 250,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world which you were selected.

The BMW Lottery is approved by the British Gaming Board and also Licensed by the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR). To begin the processing of your prize you are to contact our fiduciary claims department for more information as regards procedures to the claim of your prize.

Name: Mr. David Mark
Email: [redacted]
Direct 24hours Security Line: [redacted] (Text Message Only)

Contact him by providing him with your Reg. pin code Number

255125HGDY03/23.

You are also advised to provide him with the under listed information as soon as possible:

  1. Name In Full :
  2. Residential Address :
  3. Nationality :
  4. Age :
  5. Sex
  6. Occupation :
  7. Direct Phone :
  8. Present Country :
  9. Email address :
  10. Reg pin code Number: 255125HGDY03/23

Please you are to provide him with the above listed details as soon as possible so he can begin with the processing of your prize winnings.

Congratulations from all our staffs and thank you for being part of our promotional program.

Mrs. Rachael Adams.

FROM THE DESK OF RACHAEL ADAMS,
THE DIRECTOR PROMOTIONS
BMW LOTTERY DEPARTMENT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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Though this Medium: using of Internet has been greatly Abused, says scammer

ghanaSpam scam: Who needs stand-up comedians when laughs appears in my inbox each and every day? This is one of the most amusing in a while, mainly because I can’t parse most of it.

Don’t reply to messages like this. Delete them right away.

From: Mr. Henry Addo

Subject: I NEED YOUR URGENT RESPONSE

My Good Friend,

Mr. name is My Henry Addo, the AM I ares ares Newly Promoted Branch Manager of Bank here in Ghana, West Africa, not quite I and Feel Safe discussing this with you through this Internet Business method, why is The Very Important Important Because this Transaction and the Business Must Confidential treated be. Though this Medium: using of Internet has been greatly Abused, I Still the Choose to you through the REACH IT Because IT Still Remains The Fastest Medium of Communication, during the Information I obtained the Your My search through The Internet.

May the Interest to you that I Hear IT the AM ares man of PEACE and do not Want the Problems, I Hope we only Each Call Assist for the CAN OTHER. The If you do not Want this Offer Kindly forget the Business IT, the AS the Contact you I will not again.

I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit both of us, as the Branch Manager of the Bank, it is my duty to send in a Financial Report to my head office in the capital city Accra at the end of each year.

In the course of the last year 2015 end of the year report, I discovered that my branch in which I am the Manager made excess profit of Seven Million five Hundred Thousand Dollars [US $ 7,500,000.00] which my head office are not aware of and will be aware of Never Registered. I have Placed Since this Fund in ares SUNDRY ACCOUNT.

As an officer of the bank I can not be directly linked to this money, so this informed my contacting you for us to work together so that you can assist me and receive this fund into your bank account in your country for us to SHARE.

I am offering you 40% of the total fund, while you keep 60% for me in your bank account till I join you in your country for the sharing / investment of my own share of the funds or better still we can go into a joint partnership venture, I will appreciate it very much.

The Request for Your Honesty and Optimum immensely I Cooperation and Let Me Know Your Mind on this, the AS and the Please do treat this the Information Top Secret the AS the CAN I not afford to My Ñlose the Job with The Bank. We Shall Go over a once The details I The Receive your urgent response.

Thanks for your understanding, i will be waiting for your response

Sincerely,

Mr. Henry Addo.

Hackers and scammers and spammers, oh my

An alarming message came in today from a cousin’s email address — and freaked out some members of my extended family. However, it’s a total scam. Someone hacked in my cousin’s email address (either by guessing her password or by phishing for it) and sent out these messages. One worried family member actually went to the bank to get cash to send to London!
Subj: Horrible Trip
 
Hello,
 
This message may be coming to you as a surprise but I need your help.Few days back my family and I made an unannounced vacation trip to London,UK.Everything was going fine until last night when we were mugged on our way back to the hotel.They Stole all our cash,credit cards and cellphone but thank God we still have our lives and passport.Another shocking thing is that the hotel manager has been unhelpful to us for reasons i don’t know. I’m writing you from a local library cybercafe..I’ve reported to the police and after writing down some statements that’s the last i had from them.i contacted the consulate and all i keep hearing is they will get back to me. Our return flight leaves soon…I need you to help me out with a loan to settle our bills here so we can get back home . I’ll refund the money as soon as we get back. All i need is $1,850 USD..Let me know if you can get me the money then I will let you know how to get it to me.
 
Thanks
Needless to say, my cousin is safe at home, and she never went to London. She was initially somewhat confused because she couldn’t get into her email, as one of the first things the scammers did was change her password. And then the phone started ringing….
If you see messages like this, don’t respond, don’t be fooled. Do not try to get back to the family member by email, but use other means. Remember, the scammer has access to the email account, and can answer. Being bcc’d on a message (which I was) is one sign that it’s not legit. (But if you’re not bcc’d, that’s not proof that the message is legitimate.)
Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick