July 2010 Archives

July 16, 2010

Phishing Scams, Amazon, and Junk Mail....

I get about 300 pieces of e-mail a day, the vast majority of it junk. A high percentage of the junk is a scam of some sort [usually phishing, which is trying to get you to give up private codes], and ads for Viagra. I have spam filters, but the evil doers get better each day at making the spam look like it comes from someone with whom I regularly do business, or by coding the messages to make the computer think they come from me or my office.

I regularly do business with Amazon.com. I order books related to divorce, custody, relationships, computers, and other areas that relate to my law practice. So, I'm often on the lookout for e-mail from Amazon to notify me of a shipment, or notify me of or resolve a problem.

The latest scam I've noticed is and "Amazon Thanks for your order" message addressed to me. They look just like a regular notice from Amazon that it has acknowledged an order, and it gives me an opportunity to "view and edit your orders online." Of course they want me to click on one of the links, go to a page that looks like Amazon, and find out what the heck I've ordered that I wasn't expecting. Each of these is different in it's content, so I must read them carefully to see if they are legitimate. They want me to try to log onto my account, enter my user name, e-mail, and password so that they can later do this themselves.

When I read the mail carefully, I start to see obvious errors. One of several that I received this morning says that the Order Grand Total is $63.99. Below that is a summary that says that the subtotal of all items is $96.99, then the total before tax is $43.99, sales tax is zero, and "Total for this Order" is $10.99. It then gives me the option to click and see the items, Price: $71.99. Must be Nigerians filling out a form letter. Usually, phishing scams aren't this obvious.

I'm glad my parents don't use the computer I gave them for e-mail. I'm sure that they would just assume it is an honest mistake and give away their life savings.