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Phishers Target Compromised MasterCard Account Holders

E-mail scam artists are trying to scare MasterCard users into giving up their personal and financial information at fake MasterCard Web sites, in what is likely an attempt to capitalize on consumer fears over reports that at least 13 million MasterCard and 22 million Visa accounts have been compromised by hackers.

San Jose-based Secure Computing Corp said it has seen examples of the scam, which has taken the form of a "phishing" attack. According to the company, the phishing e-mail begins:

"Dear User: During our regular update and verification of the accounts, we couldn't verify your current information. Either your information has changed or it is incomplete. If the account information is not updated to current information within 5 days then, your access will be restricted. Go to this link below or copy and paste it on your address tool bar:"

That Web site serves nothing more than a blank page at the time of this writing. An online records search indicated that the site was registered to one Donald Cuppe of Tucson. Reached at her home this morning, Donald's wife, Suzanne, 61, said her bank called Monday to alert her that their Visa debit card number had been stolen.

"They called us to say that someone tried to use it to buy computer video games over the Internet," she said, adding that she and her husband were getting ready to head down to the bank to look at their current statement to identify other fraud that may have been committed with their account.

The Cuppes' experience jibes with my previous reporting on phishing, a complex crime wherein attackers typically recycle their victims' information. In this case, it appears the attackers used Suzanne Cuppe's debit card and billing information to register and pay for the fake MasterCard domain name.

It's never a good idea to click on links in e-mails from someone you don't know or in messages you weren't expecting (so do as I say, not as I do, okay?). For tips on avoiding falling prey to phishing scams, see our online primer here.

By Brian Krebs  |  June 22, 2005; 11:56 AM ET
Categories:  Fraud , Latest Warnings  
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Next: Conference Board: Data Debacles Hurting E-Commerce


Re: "Phishers Target Compromised MasterCard Account Holders"

Thanks for the very informative, well written article. The more that people are informed, the better able are we to protect ourselves and the less easier it is for identity thieves and hackers to steal our personal data.

Posted by: Garth | June 24, 2005 3:08 AM | Report abuse

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