jason thurber's blog

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Favorite identity theft email, ever!

with 22 comments

Today I got an email that forced me out of my blogging hiatus. Here’s the message (italics are mine):

From: staff@jthurber.com
Subject: Important notify about your e-mail account.

Dear user of e-mail server “Jthurber.com”,

Your e-mail account will be disabled because of improper using in next
three days, if you are still wishing to use it, please, resign your
account information.

Pay attention on attached file.

The Jthurber.com team

Then there’s some sort of attachment that I won’t open (even though I’m on a Mac and am relatively safe from email viruses).

Things to note about this email that are funny:

1) No attempt is made to explain “improper using”. There are many “improper usings” of an email account that would be cause for concern and an email of this sort, and any real Administrator would include a list of complaints.

2) I own the jthurber.com domain and the mail server is administered by a couple of my friends both of whom is literate. 😉

3) This is exactly the sort of prank that said friends would play on me, the primary difference being that the prank email would appear to be from a) the FBI b) the Justice Department or c) someone who had supposedly seen a personals ad on some horribly deviant personals board! (Damn, now I can’t play any of these pranks on them…). Oh yeah, and this theoretical email would be cleverly crafted to actually manipulate my behavior.

4) The italicized sections are tells (just like in Poker). Note to identity thieves everywhere, the recent PayPal Identity Theft scams worked because the emails were believable, well-crafted and technically sophisticated. Even when you followed the “Enter your info” link it still looked like you were at the PayPal site. You actually needed to understand a bit about the internet to be suspicious. I’m actually appreciative that this one is so badly done that it’s funny instead of worrying!

Anyway, I’m glad that my posting to newsgroups with my real email address is starting pay dividends!

Written by jthurber

March 15th, 2004 at 12:59 pm

Posted in General