Disturbing email doing the rounds over the long Easter weekend in Australia, pretending to be from BigPond. I’m blogging about this in the hope that you’ll find this entry if you receive that email and Google it first. It’s a scam, and a very clever one.
First the details: sender address firstname.lastname@example.org (that’s your first alarm bell-bt.com is not a bigpond or telstra domain name)
Subject: Your ADSL Service Cancellation Notice (second alarm bell – I am not and have never been a BigPond ADSL customer)
Text: Dear BigPond User,
Telstra BigPond is sending you this e-mail to inform you that our service to you could be suspended. This might be due to either one of the following reasons:
1. You have changed your billing address.
2. You have Submitted incorrect information during bill payment process. (third alarm bell – bad english & capital letter in middle of sentence)
3. Your credit/debit card has expired.
4. You didnt update your bigpons profile. (fourth alarm bell-missing apostrophe and now bigpond has lost its capitals)
According to above(more bad english), and to ensure that your service is not interrupted, we request you to confirm and update your billing information now BY CLICKING HERE. (another alarm bell-Telstra will never ask you to do this and definately never in capitals)
If you have already confirmed your billing information then please disregard this message as we are processing the changes you have made.
Thanks for your co-operation
Accounts Management As outlined in our User Agreement, Telstra (r) will periodically send you information about site changes and enhancements.
OK, so there are a few things in there to make you question the email, but the real surprise is the lengths they have gone to with the fake website, and what they have the cheek to ask you for. When you click on the link, you are taken to a page that looks very much like a Telstra website:
The logo is there and the links at the bottom even point to pages on the real Telstra website. But the big alarm bell here is this statement: “This is a secure page. Telstra has implemented SSL security technology designed to prevent unauthorised people from reading this page, or the information you send to us via this page.” Ah no, actually that page is not secured by an SSL certificate, as the address at the top does not appear as https:// and there’s no little golden locked padlock showing in my browser.
So let’s see how far we can push this thing? Enter a username & password – just anything, make it up .. and you get to page 2 – Thank you for confirming your identity. And now the fun begins. They want your name, credit card details, billing address, phone number, home phone, date of birth and drivers license number. Excuse me? I don’t think so.
So we make up some more fake info and submit it, and we get a short confirmation page which then redirects us to the real Telstra website.
Apart from wondering how on earth it can validate a completely made-up username and password, there are elements in there to really make you think it is legitimate. The site is hosted by e3event.com which is in Indian company. I’ve forwarded this email to Telstra to get their comment, but I’m betting my money it’s a fake. And if it is, it’s a good one.
The best scammers know that instead of spending their time trying to break technology’s security measures, they just need to take advantage of our human nature and gain our trust. With a few chosen words and a carefully placed logo, we believe they are Telstra and we’re going to lose our internet connection. The easiest way for them to gain access to your personal information is for them to to ask you for it.
Another concern is the timing of this. It was reported to a few Computer Troubleshooters franchisees as appearing over the Easter long weekend, which was a 5 day public holiday in Australia this year due to the ANZAC Day commemoration. The billing departments of all corporations were closed (internet providers only run technical support on weekends) and who wants to be without their internet for 5 days because you decided to wait & phone Telstra to check it out first?
So, now you’ve been warned, and you’ve seen why I think this is a scam. I’ll let you know Telstra’s reply when I get it (hopefully tomorrow – at 9pm their privacy department isn’t open).