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Adventures in Spam: False Account Blocking

December 6th, 2008

spam-scam.jpgAlthough it has been a long time since I have continued my Adventures in Spam series, this morning I received an email that qualifies for a new post because it reminds me of a scam mail category that I have not yet covered. This is the tactic of false account block messages, where the spammer tries to appeal to your fear that something has gone wrong with one of your accounts at a bank, payment processor, or other type of financial institution. Here is an example from this morning’s serving of spam that was targeted to users of the relatively new payment processor Liberty Reserve:

** Liberty Reserve Account Blocked **

Your account has been blocked due to numerous invalid login attempts. You will be unable to send and receive funds until your account has been activated.

Failing to unblock your account will result temporary account suspension. Please read attached account block notice for details.

Sincerely,
Liberty Reserve Customer Service

Below the message there was also an attachment in HTML format. Although I was not foolish enough to click on it, I suspect that it leads to a fake Liberty Reserve login page or some other type of web page that is designed to fool you into entering your login details in an attempt to fix the “block” on your account. If scammers manage to collect these, they can come back later and drain money from your account.

Depending on how much information is gathered, it can also be used for identity theft purposes or for hacking into other accounts you may have. This technique is commonly known as “phishing” because the scammers are fishing for your login details and hoping that by sending out enough spam, eventually someone will “bite.” Another recent variation on the fake account block notice posted above is this one, sent with the subject line of “Liberty Reserve Terms of Service Modification.”

Modifications have been made to the Liberty Reserve Terms of Service. New Version as of 18 October 2008 are displayed below for your review

Liberty Reserve Terms of Service Modification Last modified: 2008-10-18

THIS AGREEMENT SETS FORTH THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH LIBERTY RESERVE WILL PROVIDE ITS ACCOUNT SERVICES. THIS AGREEMENT DESCRIBES USER’S RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS WHEN USING THESE SERVICES. USER MUST READ THE AGREEMENT CAREFULLY AND BE SURE USER UNDERSTANDS THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS.

2.3.2. User acknowledges and accepts that in the case of a claim of unauthorized Spends, the presumption shall be that all Spends are authorized by and are the liability of the User.

2.4.2. User is responsible for all Spends from User’s Liberty Reserve account, except as provided in section 2.3, even if the instructions provided by User are incorrect.

2.4.5 User understands and acknowledges that Liberty Reserve does not act as judge or jury or as law enforcement or as a court of law with respect to any disputes
between users of Liberty Reserve. User understands that any such involvement by Liberty Reserve in the affairs of users of the system could expose Liberty Reserve to civil legal liability, or possibly criminal liability, even if Liberty Reserve believes that its actions are in good faith.

You must now confirm that you accept Terms of Service, if you want countinue using your Liberty Reserve Account.

To do this click link below to confirm new terms and select the appropriate button to continue using Liberty Reserve Account.

Click here to agree to New Liberty Reserve Terms

[spammer’s link was placed here]

In this instance the appeal to fear is less pronounced, but with a convenient link placed at the bottom of the message instead of an attachment, the scammer is hoping that you will be curious enough to click on it in order to find out about the fake terms of service modifications. Of course this is not a good idea because the link may lead to a keylogger or other type of Trojan that could cause problems for you later.

Meanwhile, if you suspect that you have been infected by Trojans or other types of malware from these types of spam and scam operations, you can use a scanning and removal tool such as Malware RemovalBot to get rid of the nasties and restore some peace of mind.


Other articles from the Adventures in Spam series:

Appeal to Greed
Bogus Lottery Winnings
Payment Processing Scams
Stock Pumping Scams
The Hidden URL
The Sandwich Technique



One Response to “Adventures in Spam: False Account Blocking”

  1. comment number 1 by: Digit-8

    True. I have got the same email.

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