On Monday I wrote about an email scam that tries to trick people into thinking they have violated a photographer’s copyright and need to add a link to their websites to remedy the problem. Yesterday, I had another sneaky scam attempt land in my inbox.
The scam attempt that landed in my inbox yesterday can in the form of an email stating that an account had been created for me at Forte.net (a legitimate online payment processor) and that I needed to click the link to confirm my account. I was immediately suspicious because I didn’t create an account. Obviously, I didn’t click the link and I didn’t copy and paste the URL that the email suggested I follow. What I did instead was head to the support page for Forte.net and filed a fraud report. Within minutes I got an email back from them. All of this is documented in this short video that I recorded yesterday afternoon.
What’s the purpose?
You might be wondering why someone would try to use my email address or your email address to register for an account on a service. Sometimes this is done as part of identity theft attempt (often in the case of trying to register for payment services). Sometimes this is done as part of a larger attack designed to get hundreds or thousands of people to click a link that takes them to a nefarious site for a variety of purposes including the spread of malware.
The lesson to share.
What is significant in this little story is to always be suspicious of emails that state you have a new account created for a service that you didn’t intentionally register for. And don’t reply to those emails. Instead, go directly to the site if you want to do some investigating. Finally, always look at the “from” addresses, the “mailed by,” and “signed by” addresses.
A Technical Lesson on Email Forensics
If you want to dive into the nitty-gritty of how email really works and how to analyze the sender of an email, watch this video.