Phishing is So Easy Even Hamsters Do It

June 8th, 2012
in econ_news

hamster-165x200pxEconintersect: A staff member received an e-mail this morning (reproduced in full below). The subject line screamed: RE: HOTMAIL ACCOUNT ALERT !!! It was addressed to "MSN and Hotmail Subscriber." It informed the recipient that they needed to help Customer Care Account Services complete regular account maintenance. This is not the first phishing scam that we have seen but this is the first case of such an effort by an animal. The reply address was “hamster-shadow at Hotmail dot co dot uk,” address deactivated by Econintersect for the protection of any foolishly curious reader who might want to explore communication with an animal.

Follow up:

Recently our staff has been deluged with several phishing scam efforts per day relating to Pay Pal. This has been going on for many weeks but we have not explored those attempts to catch phish as we have this one because they were not as awkward in appearance as the Hotmail/MSN scam, e-mail reproduced below:


Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2012 12:50:26 +0000


Dear MSN and Hotmail Subscriber

Our records indicate that your account hasn't been updated by our customer care account services as part of our regular account maintenance. Reply to our Customer Care with your personal information. Do this by clicking the reply tab.

* Full Name:

* User name:

* Password:

* Date of Birth:

* Country Or Territory:

This back up is necessary to update and to avoid blocking of your account. If you do not respond to this message with in 24hrs you will lose your account permanently. Thank you for your usual co-operation we apologize for the inconvenience.
Member Service Team

We can only hope that a computer was not infected with a virus by reason of opening this e-mail.

Such an awkwardly produced ploy as this one makes it much harder for legitimate phishermen to make a living. Andy Borowitz discussed this problem a few months ago on Twitter:

A handful of Nigerian scam artists are wrecking it for all the honest Nigerians who want to wire money to us.

John Lounsbury

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