Phishing Fax Lures The Lax – Sophos Warns Of Latest Internet Fraud Trend

Experts at SophosLabs, Sophos’s global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centres, are warning users about a new phishing campaign which tries to get innocent computer users to fax their credit card and bank information directly to the phishers rather than visit a bogus website.

The emails, which claim to come from Paypal (the payment system used by the popular eBay auction website), tell users that someone tried to reset their password. The emails urge the user to fax back information which will assist in the investigation into the alleged security breach:

‘Dear Paypal Customer, Unauthorized person tried to reset the password from your paypal account. We would like to ensure that your account was not accessed by an unauthorized third party. Because protecting the security of your account is our primary concern, you have to complete the affidavit form. Click here to download the form. Please send a fax in the next 24 hours to [number removed] with affidavit form completed.’

The emails point to a Microsoft Word document hosted on a Polish website, which the recipient is instructed to download and complete with their bank account details (including PIN information), credit card numbers and login details before faxing back. Sophos has confirmed that the telephone number mentioned in the emails is hosting an active fax machine.

“In the last few days we have seen a number of attempts by phishers to use this technique, and it’s possible that some people who know that they need to be careful about entering their confidential information on a bogus website may think that completing and faxing back such a form is somehow safer,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. “It’s important that no-one is lax when it comes to their internet security, and everyone keeps their critical banking and credit card details close to their chest.”

“Interestingly, the phishing gang may have made a huge blunder by including the fax number in their scam. PayPal and the authorities are sure to follow that lead when investigating this matter further,” continued Cluley.

Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend businesses from the threats of both spam and viruses; and that users do not open or reply to unsolicited emails.

Screenshots of the email and the Word document recipients are encouraged to fax back can be seen at:

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