Beyond Obvious Internet Scams
These email scams are well documented and frequently featured on the evening news. A much more sinister version of the phishing scam is the kind of Internet fraud that leaves the computer user unaware that s/he has become a victim of phishing and most likely also identity theft.
The look and feel of such phishing scams is sinister, in part because they look like legitimate email communications from businesses with which the user has a relationship. For example, a PayPal user receives an official looking email– complete with trademarked logos and graphics- warning that her/his account became corrupted. She is urged to log in, check the balance, and reset the password.
For the user’s convenience, a link to PayPal is included in the email. When the user clicks on the link, she is taken to a website that looks identical to PayPal, but is actually part of the larger phishing scam. As the user attempts to enter the log-in information, she may receive an error message, urging a later attempt. What she fails to realize is the fact that she just divulged – via a key-logging program – what her PayPal login and password are.
The next time the user logs into the genuine PayPal account, the account is most likely raided and empty- as might be the bank accounts and credit cards to which it is tied.