MILLION DOLLAR PHISHING SCAM

A 31-year-old man from Atlanta, Georgia, admitted recently that he and his gang stole more than $1.3 million by phishing confidential account information from e-commerce sites, according to New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

Waya Nwaki, aka “Shawn Conley,” pled guilty in Newark federal court to one count each of wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers.

Nwaki and his accomplices set up fake web pages that looked just like legitimate sites of companies, such as banks and payroll processors. Nwake would then send unsuspecting people emails that were made to look like they came from real businesses. People clicked on the links and they were taken to what they thought were real sites.

The crooks set up sites that looked just like the real websites of Chase Bank, Bank of America, ADP and Branch Bank & Trust Co. Customers entered confidential information, including dates of birth, social security numbers, mothers’ maiden names, and account user names and passwords into these sites.

Nwaki and his “soldiers” as he called them used the information to make unauthorized withdrawals from victims’ accounts. In some cases, it was also used to create fake driver’s licenses that the gang members then used to impersonate victims at bank branches.

HOW TO AVOID PHISHING SCAMS

  • Be suspicious. Don’t trust emails asking for personal information or that require urgent action.
  • Do not click on links found in emails from people you do not know.
  • If an email claims to be from an organization that you do business with, still be careful. Look closely at the link. Cybercriminals will try their best to make the URL (website address) look like it came from a legitimate business. Use your mouse to hover over the link to see where it leads.
  • Go directly to the website of the company you do business with by typing in the address yourself.
  • Make a phone call to the organization to see if the email is legit.
  • Use the latest version of your favorite browser. Software companies continue to try and improve the security level of their products. Old versions of web browsers are more likely to be compromised by the latest attack methods.
  • Keep a close eye on your bank statements.

HOW GOOD ARE YOU AT SPOTTING PHISHING ATTEMPTS?

Phishing quiz from OpenDNS.

 

Safety First,

John L. Jones

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