Scam Emails Archive : Generic

Subject: Scamdex, Internet Scambusters Newsletter #295, 8-06-08

From: "Scambusters Editors" <>

This email with the subject "Scamdex, Internet Scambusters Newsletter #295, 8-06-08" was received in one of Scamdex's honeypot email accounts on Wed, 06 Aug 2008 01:22:21 -0700 and has been classified as a Generic Scam.

The sender was "Scambusters Editors" <>, although it may have been spoofed.


Internet Scambusters (tm)
The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud

By Scambusters Audri, Jim and Keith
Issue #295  August 6, 2008


Note 1: Easily change your subscription information by
clicking the link at the very bottom of this newsletter.

Note 2: Please share this newsletter with 3 or 4 of your
friends or colleagues who you think will benefit from it.

Hi Scamdex,

Two Snippets for you this week:

First, an alert about a UPS scam that delivers a deadly Trojan
program onto your PC via email that, in turn, can lead to both
identity theft and hacker control of your computer.

Second, we have a timely warning about online companies who use
bait and switch tactics, offering products at bargain prices --
with an expensive catch.

As always, we recommend you begin by taking a look at this
week's issue of Scamlines -- What's New in Scams? -- here.

We also recommend you check out the most popular
articles from our other sites during the past week:

Answers to 7 of the Biggest Questions About Fashion
Photography: An Interview With Bruce Smith

What First Time Credit Card Applicants Need to Keep In Mind

5 Common-Sense Tips For Frugal Living

How to Overcome the 3 Biggest Quirks on Facebook

Let's check out today's Snippets...

A Widespread Convincing and Dangerous UPS Scam

A UPS scam, where victims are lured into clicking a download
link, is sweeping through inboxes. It's happening right now but
the lesson it teaches us is good for all time.

If you've ever received a package via the parcel company -- and
most of us have -- you might be tempted to take seriously an
email that seems to come from them, saying they have a package
for you.

But what if that email also asks you to open an attachment, that
appears to be a Microsoft Word document? Would you be
suspicious? Would you click on it?

Hopefully not.

But hundreds, maybe thousands, of people have done just that,
only to discover, if they're lucky, the whole thing is a scam
and that clicking on the attachment downloads a virus onto their
PC. (This does not affect Mac users.)

We say "if you're lucky" to make the discovery because, if you
don't, the virus will just sit there doing its evil work --
reading your files, including confidential information, then
transmitting the details to a server somewhere in Russia.

At least if you know it's there, you can do something about it.

Actually, this UPS scam malware is not a virus but a Trojan --
the difference being that a virus replicates itself and sends
itself to other computers, whereas a Trojan must be sent out by
someone (usually in a spammed message) and then actually be
installed by the victim.

However, that doesn't make it any less lethal once it hits your

So far, there seem to be two main variations of the offending
spammed email -- both looking like a genuine notification.

The first one tells you the parcel service tried but was unable
to deliver a package to you due to their having an incorrect
address. The subject heading usually has a phony tracking
number. The attachment is supposedly a copy of a waybill or
invoice for you to print and use to collect the parcel from a
UPS office.

The second is a customs notification and may even seem to come
from "US Customs Service" rather than UPS. It says you have an
international package (usually from France) and that you need to
complete the attached customs form so it can be delivered.

In both this and the UPS scam, the attachment is a compressed
ZIP file (that is, one with a name that ends in ".zip"), even
though the icon may look like a Word document. As soon as you
double click on it, you're doomed.

It installs a downloading program that then fetches and installs
at least two more files on your system. These may disable your
firewall, look for and steal credit card and bank account
details, make screen snapshots and allow hackers continued
access to your machine.

UPS has issued a warning telling customers not to click the
attachment. The firm also points out that although it sometimes
does send out email notifications, it rarely uses attachments.
You can read the entire message here.

Similarly, US Customs says it normally contacts people by letter
rather than email.

Action: One of the worrying aspects of the UPS scam was that, at
first, most Internet security software failed to spot the Trojan
and allowed it to install. Subsequently, they all issued virus
definition updates so, if your program is up to date, you should
be OK.

If you do get the email, delete it. It shouldn't harm you,
provided you don't click the attachment.

Of course, this attack underlines the danger of ever clicking on
an attached file, even if it appears to come from a person or
organization you know or frequently deal with.

You just can't be sure. And, although it may take a little more
time, it's relatively easy to check out how genuine an
attachment is by contacting the sender by phone or email (keying
in their email address yourself rather than hitting the 'reply'

In the case of the UPS scam, so many people are regular users of
UPS they allowed this familiarity to cloud their judgment and
clicked on the link.

If your machine does become infected, disable system restore,
boot your computer into safe mode, update your virus definitions
and then run a full system scan.

If you're not sure how to do this, check your operating system
and security software documents. If you don't have security
software installed -- now is the time!

Watch out for this bait and switch trick

We reported previously on how the scam technique known as "bait
and switch" has been used in the mortgage and credit card

Now Scambusters' valued subscriber, newspaper columnist David
Morris, highlights another example of this trick, when a reader
tried to buy a camera.

Bait and switch happens when you go for an advertised deal that
offers fantastic value (the bait), only to find it's not
available as advertised. You're offered a more costly deal that
may or may not compare in value (the switch). This might be an
alternative product or some enhancement to the original one.

In his regular column "In Your Corner" in The Sun newspaper of
Port Charlotte, FL, David explains the reader's attempt to buy a
camera from an online dealer. The camera was offered at an
incredibly low price but the dealer told the buyer he could only
have it if he also bought some overpriced accessories.

That's a bait and switch. Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

As David says, the price, which was one third below retail, was
too good to be true. When you see a deal like this from a
company you don't know, he advises, it pays to check them out,
both with consumer agencies and online.

In this case, a quick Google search would have told the buyer
everything he needed to know to steer clear of this seller.

"The lesson is to realize the Internet is wrought with scams.
Companies like this are apparently trying to lure you in with
the bait of low prices only to make up for the discounted price
by up-selling highly inflated accessories in a follow-up
'confirmation call,' says David." ...When you don't bite, they
catch and release.

"So don't be so trusting, always do your homework and don't get

Thanks, David. You can read his bait and switch column in full

That's all for today -- we'll see you next week

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