Fake websites on the Increase
Date: September 02, 2003
Cyber-criminals are netting millions of pounds by setting up fake websites that mimic well-established companies and persuading visitors to part with credit card details and personal information. Referred to as 'spoofing', it is the fastest-growing fraud on the web and victims include Amazon, AOL, PayPal and a number of global banks.
In a recent case a gang of African fraudsters set up a fake version of NatWest's online service and used it to con two people out of more than £100,000. The website was identical to that of the real bank but contained an additional 'the' at the beginning of the web address. Once the con was discovered the site was closed but the people behind it have not been caught. NatWest's owners, the Royal Bank of Scotland, have bought up a wide range of website addresses which feature 'natwest' in the hope to prevent future scams.
Downunder police are warning of a new online banking scam targeting New Zealanders and Australians. The scam uses two websites, each claiming to represent a financial services firm that has partnerships with banks, including ANZ, Westpac, ASB Bank, National Bank of New Zealand and the Bank of New Zealand. The banks deny any association with the company and investigations by the police's e-Crime unit in New Zealand showed that the scam was being run from Denmark.
The website www.devancy.com, is aimed at New Zealanders, while www.avantyx.com is tailored to Australians. Visitors to the websites are asked to accept a $10,000 deposit into their bank account before being told to forward the amount on to a third party, minus a $500 transaction fee earned for forwarding the money.
Banks are not the only victims. Last month the US Federal Trade Commission charged a teenager with producing a look-alike web page for AOL and conning hundreds of people - many British - out of their credit card information. The boy sent emails asking recipients to update their AOL billing information. Victims were diverted to a fake website that contained the company logo which looked identical to its original. They were asked to enter information such as credit card details, addresses, AOL screen names, passwords and national insurance numbers.
Fraudsters recently targeted the online book retailer Amazon. Last week the company took action against a number of companies who have been 'spoofing' its email address. One company in particular was sending out offers that looked like they come directly from Amazon but had been generated by cyebye.com, taking advantage of the well-established Amazon name to encourage purchases.
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