Monday, November 03, 2008

Microsoft Warns Of Scams Exploiting Economic Fears - Security - IT Channel News by CRN and VARBusiness

Microsoft Warns Of Scams Exploiting Economic Fears - Security - IT Channel News by CRN and VARBusiness: "By Stefanie Hoffman, ChannelWeb

8:00 PM EDT Thu. Oct. 30, 2008 Cyber scammers are finding opportunity in the global financial crisis with e-mail scams and phishing attacks claiming to offer users new mortgages or loans from failed banks, Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) executives said.

Microsoft researchers warn that there are already indications that fraudsters are ramping up their tactics.

Tim Cranton, associate general counsel for Worldwide Internet Safety Programs at Microsoft, said in an e-mail interview that the trend was especially alarming in light of the current financial crisis. 'In troubled financial times, there is the potential for increased risk as promises of easy money may become more alluring to some victims,' he said.

In an attempt to capitalize on the credit crisis and people's growing financial insecurity, scammers have inundated users with fraudulent offers that range from mortgage refinancing and low interest loans to credit cards approvals.

That is—for a small fee.

Some of the most common attacks include variations on the age old 411 scams, such as requests to move money out of a developing country. Victims are offered a cut of the alleged fortune if they agree to pay a release fee.

Or they are told they are the winners of a lottery jackpot, or are bequeathed a fortune from a dying person, and need only to pay a shipping or administration fee.

'Approximately 109 million people in the United States have received a phishing e-mail, with an estimated 3.6 million adults losing money to phishing attacks in the 12 months ending August 2007,' Cranton said. 'In these same 12 months, financial losses stemming from phishing attacks reached $3.2 billion (U.S.) in the United States alone…"

http://www.crn.com/security/211800394

con·cept: Microsoft Warns Of Scams Exploiting Economic Fears - Security - IT Channel News by CRN and VARBusiness