They call it 'phishing' or 'spoofing' and it is the fastest-growing
fraud on the web, netting cyber-criminals millions of pounds, dollars
and euros. Sophisticated gangs are setting up fake websites that
mimic well-established companies and banks.
See also: Fake banks and web sites in the news 2000 - 2003
Mar 03 2005 - NBC Nightly News:
Fake banks lure customers online - At first glance, it looks much like
any other Internet bank. Pearl Atlantic Credit & Trust says it
offers loans, project financing and online banking, with deposits
insured by the FDIC. There are even pictures of a CEO, Victor
Bartruff, and other officers. [...] "Artists against 419," a
grassroots consumer group which targets these scams, says the fake
bank appears tied to an e-mail scam. "We probably find five or ten
more a day on average," says a woman who volunteers at the group and
asked that we not use her name. "We keep finding new ones."
Feb 11 2005 - zdnet.com.au:
Web vigilantes launch attacks -- Internet vigilantes have launched a
48-hour bandwidth attack against spammers who defraud people
online. The 419 Flash Mob, supported by Artists Against 419, has
declared war on criminals who host fake bank Web sites in the hope of
luring victims to deposit money there. The attacks began on
Wednesday. A Web site statement from Artists Against 419 said, "This
flash mob is in celebration of Chinese New Year ... Our aim is to shut
down eight fake bank web sites in less than 48 hours!" [...]
Feb 09 2005 - Slashdot.org:
Artists Against 419 Releases Mugu Marauder -- An anonymous reader
writes "Similar in scope to the (now defunct) screensaver created by
Lycos that targeted spam sites, the newly-released Mugu Marauder is
intended to take fraudulent bank sites off the air by sponging up
their bandwidth. Mugu Marauder can be downloaded at
http://www.aa419.org/mm/ It's currently only available for Windows,
though a Linux port is allegedly in the works."
Dec 31 2004 - Information Age infoconomy.com:
The lawless Internet -- Direct action -- Old Coaster, is a qualified
doctor, retired stockbroker and former bank board member (...) As part
of the group 'Artists Against 419', he is on a crusade to shut down
the fake bank sites that scammers use (...) After verifying that a
site has no legitimate status with a banking regulator, the activists
ask the web hoster to close it down. Most oblige but if not, the group
asks large numbers of associates to visit the offending site using a
downloadable tool, http://Lad Vampire.
Dec 09 2004 - AARP Bulletin (Switzerland):
Scam Alert - Can't Win for Losing The catch: No prize money is released
until the "winners" pay customs duties, taxes, or shipping and handling
fees, usually to a Western Union office in Canada. Swindlers can wreak
even more damage if they can sell their victims on the convenience of
automatically withdrawing the fees from their bank accounts. Once they
have access, the con artists can deplete the account. Law enforcement
officials say the Canadian lottery hoax is robbing Americans of about
$120 million a year.
Nov 16 2004 - Ghanaweb.com:
Beware of White Collar Scams Others may be in the form of "spoof
banks" where there is supposedly money in your name already on
deposit; "paying" for a purchase with a check larger than the amount
required and asking for change to be advanced; fake lottery 419; and
ordering items and commodities off "trading" sites on the web and then
cheating the seller. The variations of Advance Fee Fraud (419) are
very creative and virtually endless.
Oct 30 2004 - The Times:
Scam baiting: They are the online jungle's lowlife -- eBay auction
scammers, Nigerian advance-fee fraudsters, fake bank website
"phishers" trawling for the next sucker. Their lucrative cons play on
human greed and naivety, yet they evade detection through the
anonymity of the web (...) But what if the fraudsters themselves could
Sept 15 2004 - MSN Money:
Advance fee fraud: The UK's National Criminal Intelligence Agency says
150 million a year is reaped by variations of this fraud. (...) In
the last year, the NCIS says it has detected an increasing number of
frauds in which bogus bank websites are set up, and the victims are
provided with a PIN number and logon ID which apparently allows them to
see that the prize has already cleared into the account. The identities
of genuine companies are sometimes used to add an extra layer of
Aug 11 2004 - ABCNEWS:
Regulators Shut Down Phony Bedrock Bank Federal regulators shut down a
phony Internet bank claiming to be located in the tiny Colorado town of
Bedrock population 10 near the Utah state line.
Aug 13 2004 - Monterey County Herald, et al:
International email scams score billions with offer of millions "I had
one person last week who lost $40,000," said a college student who is a
member of Artists against 419, one of a growing number of Web sites
devoted to foiling advance-fee scams.
The college student, known online as Sister Mary Catherine..."
Aug 08 2004 - Guardian UK:
Only winners are con gangs: Log on to http://aa419.org and learn how
you can help to shut down fake lotteries. _You_ are invited and
encouraged to help put phishers and their phake banks out of business.
http://www.aa419.org will teach you how to obtain and use the tools to
Aug 08 2004 - This is Guernsey:
The Guernsey Financial Services Commission battles bogus Internet
banks Over the last three years, there had been an increase in
fraudsters setting up bogus bank websites. These look like a genuine
bank and claim to have a connection to a reputable jurisdiction such
as Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man. Victims are referred to the
sites by the fraudsters who say they are independent of the bogus
bank. Investors are encouraged to open accounts with a promise that
they will receive all, or a percentage, of a large sum of money. The
bogus bank asks for an initial deposit and, after paying, that is the
last the victim will see of it.
Aug 02 2004 - The Register:
Net vigilantes target 419 sites Artists Against 419 (AA419) has
organised a 48-hour online protest against Phishers and advanced fee
fraud, otherwise known as the 419 scam. The protest is an organised
version of the SlashDot effect whereby a huge number of visitors turn
up at a site, overwhelming its bandwidth allocation. The virtual flash
mob began at midnight on 1 August and has already taken down three of
July 25 2004 - Mail on Sunday:
FINANCIAL Mail's list of fake banks to avoid has a new recruit: A call
to the tricksters on their website phone number 020 7060 0487 was
automatically transferred to an unknown destination where a man with a
heavy West African accent tried unsuccessfully to convince me he was a
July 20 2004 - BankInfoSecurity.com:
Social Engineering Offers Increased Threat to Banking Industry Please
be advised that the Web site is not operated by the OCC. It is a
fraudulent attempt to acquire personal confidential information from
users of the site for the purpose of identity theft.
July 16 2004 - News24:
419 scam hits SA cabinet Photos of the ministers who are unwittingly
being involved (under false names), are published on a website where
they are portrayed as directors or senior managers of First National
July 12 2004 - The Register:
419 'bankers' back in business. As is the case with UMCIB, Trans-Atlantic
Private Bank is not registered with the Financial Services Authority.
July 12 2004 - Toronto Star:
Scambaiters lure fraudsters: Artists Against 419 takes a different
approach ... against fake bank sites used by scammers. They teach you
how to respond to phishers; how to waste their time and money.
July 11 2004 - Star-Telegram, Texas:
GETTING HOOKED Artists against 419 also conducts monthly "flash mobs," a
vigilante effort to shut down fraudulent bank sites.
July 09 2004 - Cape Cod Times:
Vacation getaway: Family taken in by phony Web site offering $3,500
Cape summer rental.
July 09 2004 - The Register:
Anatomy of a 419 scam: The following is an account of how one US
citizen recently lost $1,000 to a UK-based 419 outfit who used a
combination of plausible correspondence, phone calls and a fake bank
website to reel in their victim.
July 08 2004 - Town Times:
The Better Business Bureau hopes to curtail 'phishing' Comprehensive
phishing resources are available on the Internet for consumers at
http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft and http://www.visa.com/phishing
July 07 2004 - Amsterdam Weekly:
Having fun with 419 fraudsters: Well, you could
always join that other global phenomenon, the 'flash mob', a new
technique against the 419 scam. Get tools to use at
July 05 2004 - THE WASHINGTON TIMES:
Thieves target online bankers: A new threat against online banking
customers has emerged. Internet thieves are secretly downloading
software through pop-up ads to record keystrokes as people type. The
threat targeted users of Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
June 24 2004 - Khaleej Times, Dubai:
Beware of fraudulent companies: A recent example of this was the
uncovering of Saturn Jobs, a fraudulent recruitment company, which
operated from Britain, and duped thousands of Indians and Bangladeshis
of their money by promising them jobs in the Middle East.
June 23 2004 - Reuters:
How to outfox the email scammers: British police recently estimated that
phishing scams cost UK banks an estimated 60 million pounds last year.
The economic toll of phishing in the United States is much worse,
costing American banks and credit card companies $1.2 billion (660
million pounds) in 2003, since so few internet users are willing to
cooperate in putting fraud web sites out of business.
June 22 2004 - BBC:
How to avoid getting caught by the lottery fraudsters: Ultimate FI's
impressive-looking website was registered to a man in Amsterdam who had
already been connected to other fake banking sites used in online scams.
June 22 2004 - Netcraft.com:
After months of rapid growth, the number of phishing attacks leveled
off in May, rising just 6 percent with a total of 1,197 unique
campaigns, according to new data from the Anti-Phishing Working Group
June 19 2004 - THE WASHINGTON TIMES:
The Federal Trade Commission has settled civil charges with two men
accused of stealing consumers' personal information by setting up fake
Web sites designed to look like those of legitimate companies.
June 17 2004 - THE NEW YORK TIMES:
E-mail Scammers Face Dose of Vigilante Justice: For instance, Karl
Dailey, the sheriff of Dawes County, Nebraska, has also joined the
effort. After local residents started asking him about the schemes, he
said, he got involved with the fraud-baiters at Artists Against 419
http://www.aa419.org and even helped take down a fake bank Web site.
May 11 2004 - The Register:
Lottery scams new flavour of the month: If victims do not want to pay
upfront fees, they can open an (online) account with a specified bank,
whose "policy" requires a deposit of around $3,000. This bank, however,
is fake, as are many banks with web sites and online 'services'. As
the folks at http://www.aa419.org find out about them, they immediatly
enlist the net to put the web site out of business.
May 2nd 2004 - Mail on Sunday:
Get on the web to hit the cheats: You don't need any technical knowledge
to help attack the crooks. Just go to artists against 419 Let's see how
many crooks we can kick off the internet in one day. This plan works
much like the Lycos Screen Saver which so many of the 'do-gooders' on
the net squalled about.
April 14 2004 - USA TODAY:
Hot Sites: This site can tell you all about it, but they're also doing
something fresh: Fighting back -- not just 'filtering'. Come here to
see how you can help mess with the bad guys' heads.
April 05 2004 - The Register:
Scambusters target 419 online 'banks': Since Artists against 419 started
operating, around 85 scam websites and phake banks have been removed.
Visa launches new channel to fight online fraud: In recent months Visa
has identified and shut down a number of spoofed websites around the
March 23 2004 - The Sacramento Bee:
Scam alert: 'Deceased-relative' scam costs Sacramento-area man $27,000.
Phishers on the net con artists posing as London bankers from HSBC.
March 19 2004 - The Sydney Morning Herald:
Man faces court over $5m internet scam Nick Marinellis, the alleged
Australian mastermind behind a global internet scam has set up a
website to con victims into believing they could claim millions of
dollars through lottery winnings.
March 5 2004 - Lottery Post:
New Jersey man loses $41,000 in sweepstakes scam The con artists then
gave the victim the name and Web site of a bank that was supposed to be
in Barcelona, but police say it was a fraudulent Web site.
Feb 14 2004 - The Detroit News: FBI ties Internet scam increase to
organized crime, terrorist sympathizers: The Phishing scams and their
phake banks have become the single most prevalent crime on the
Internet, experts say.
Jan 30 2004 - Cambridge News:
Mr. Fountain became the last victim of the Dutch lottery fraud: He
committed suicide by setting himself alight after he was cheated by an
internet scam. Widow's warning after internet scam tragedy: "I'm not
unintelligent and neither was Leslie. We both worked at universities and
dealt with technology. _If we can be conned, anyone can._"
Jan 8 2004 - The Age:
Fake bank website spotted: A new wave of hoax emails targeting Australian
bank customers, and how netters are _shutting them down forcibly_.
Related internal links:
Copyright 2005, Artists Against 419
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Are you as sick as I am of the growing
number of frauds and spams on the net? Then do as I have done, and
join Blue Security and/or similar groups such as Artists Against 419
who use _deterrance_ instead of ineffectual filtering methods to run
the crooks out of town. It is moral, it is ethical, and do not let
anyone tell you otherwise. Don't expect ICANN or any so-called
'authorities' on the net to give you any help. If anything, assume
that ICANN will fight your efforts. PAT]