Online Identity Theft
Spoof Email Hoax scams and Fake Web Pages or Sitesby Mat Bright
27th June 2003 (last updated 23rd February 2004)
The theft begins with a forged email...
What is a Hoax Email and Web Page scam?
Quite simply, a hoax email is one which has been forged to look as though it has come from a particular sender (such as eBay or Paypal and it will usually include their own genuine text and graphics), when in reality it has come from someone completely different. A hoax web page or site is one which includes text and graphics stolen from the genuine web site (such as eBay or Paypal) together with an interface and means to steal your identity. Either way it usually includes the clever use of professional web design code such as Java, PHP, CGI and quite often a web based mail form forwarding service).
Since the hoax email refers or sends you to the hoax web page, we'll look at those emails first. When you look at a spoof email in your inbox, or when you open it; it will show the sender as a legitimate email address (such as firstname.lastname@example.org in one of the the examples that you will see), but on further investigation it proves to be a complete fabrication. The content of the email will either ask you to enter your information there and then, or it may provide a disguised link (one which shows a URL or descriptive text, but which sends you elsewhere - also known as a cloaked link) to direct you to a forged web page or site where they will attempt to steal your identity.
Let's now see how we may recognise a forged email...
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