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Easy Money Plus Brand Equals Phish

By: David Utter

Millions of emails circulate the Internet and land in people's inboxes, promising easy money for minimal effort; the latest uses eBay's name to offer this.

Easy Money Plus Brand Equals PhishCastleCops president Paul Ladanski described the phishing message, and noted how the message bills itself as from a legitimate eBay entity. The email lacks a link to a website or even a phone number, which might normally be expected from a typical phishing message.

Instead, the writer of the phish asks for names and addresses, age and phone numbers, and gender and marital status, to be sent in reply to the message. The destination email inbox resides at, while the message headers show the message arriving from a Russian domain.

Here is part of the text of the phishing message: You can easily make $300-$1000 a week or more just by collecting payment on behalf of EbaySmall Business Limited.

Sound like your dream job? Well, it certainly is for 10,000+ current members who are making $300- $1,000s weekly online with this system.

Ladanski wrote that it looks like a "mule job," only with electronic payments instead of carrying something physical like drugs. The target of the phish would be a payment processor, receiving payments and forwarding them along via MoneyGram or Western Union after deducting a 10 percent fee for their trouble.

Although the initial message could be a platform for identity theft, missing only an identifier like a Social Security number, it may be a straightforward mule scam instead. What would happen is the victim receives a payment by mail, in the form of a check or money order, cashes it, and forwards along the money as requested.

But when it comes time to collect on the original payment item, it would turn out to be a forgery or otherwise have insufficient funds available. The mule would be on the hook to reimburse the entity that cashed the check for the entire amount, plus penalties.

Meanwhile the scammer at the other end has the victim's money, arriving by that wire transfer that was paid for in cash. It cost virtually nothing to send the mass mailing out, and even a modest amount of money received from victims makes it a profitable con.


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