What does a phishing email message look like?
Last week my email address was picked up from LinkedIn after I accepted to connect to a third-party whom details appeared to be very truthful and whose profile showed several connections to my contacts. Most of my contacts are very reluctant to accept unknown invitations but anyway I was fooled! Just a couple of days later, this new contact send me a phishing email message which I decided to publish here. Very similar to the Nigerian scam the email message below shows how well these guys craft messages as to make you provide personal data, though it's hard to believe that I was the lucky guy to get 40% of $7.5 million because my surname happen to match some guy who was killed in a traffic accident in another country!!!
'Good day and Compliments. I am Mrs. Jovina R. Zehmke from Barcelona Spain, married to Mr. Luke Thabo Zehmke from South Africa for eleven years now, we have three kids, and I am the manager of bills and exchange at the foreign remittance department of La Caixa Bank here in Barcelona, Spain. I have a business proposal which I believe that will be a very good opportunity for both of us so I decided to contact you on this business opportunity in our bank, the business is that, I discovered an abandoned sum of 7.500m US dollars (Seven million Five hundred thousand united states dollars) in our safety deposit vault that belongs to one of our foreign customer Mr. Leonid Chetcuti who died along with his wife and two children on 15th April 2008 in a ghastly motor accident along Valencia express way. Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting his next of kin to come over and claim his money because the management cannot release it unless somebody applies for it as next of kin to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines but unfortunately I learn that all his family died alongside with him at the motor accident leaving nobody behind for this claim.
Since you have the same surname with this deceased customer you can easily make this deal with me without any problem, I will give you all the secret information's of this deposit which will help you to claim this money as the true next of kin without any problem. It is therefore upon this discovery that I decided to make this business proposal to you so that the bank will release this money to you as the next of kin to the deceased since nobody is coming for it and I don't want this money to go into the banks treasury as unclaimed funds or declared to the government of Spain, once this is done the government of Spain will confiscate the funds, which is not good for both of us instead its better for us to do the deal and map out something for charity from the money and share the rest. I agreed that 40% of this total money will be for you as my foreign partner, in respect to your acceptance to do this business with me, while 60 % would be for me and my family. Therefore to enable the immediate transfer of this fund to your account as I will arrange, you must apply first to the bank as the next of kin of the deceased indicating your interest to claim your inherited funds, upon receipt of your reply through my house fax number (+34935 457 319),I will send to you by fax the text of the application which you will send to the bank indicating your claim. I will not fail to bring to your notice that this transaction is a hitch free that you should not entertain any atom of fear as all required arrangements will be made perfectly here by me.
At this moment you should feel free to contact me through my stated private house fax as soon as you receive this letter. You should understand that this should be kept very confidential, please let it be between you, me and my husband only. This is the only way we can achieve success. I will level the whole arrangement here in the bank for the transfer to be approved immediately. Also take note that my husband is the only person that I have discussed this business with and we both agreed to do this business with you, he can answer my phone anytime I am not around, for the security of this business. Feel free to call my husband on this number +34602110910, because I am always busy in the office and do not wish to discuss this while at work for security reasons. So I think that it's better to be discussing with my husband on the phone while I should be arranging everything in the bank for smooth transaction. Please send to me via my above fax number immediately, your telephone and your private fax numbers, for easy communication; I will contact you as soon as I receive your fax with your full contact information's.'
Moral of the story: Don't ever accept unknown LinkedIn connections even if they appear to be valid ones before verifying their authenticity with other contacts that you trust and show existing connections to the person that has sent you an invitation!