10 Olympics-Themed Phishing Scams To Avoid At All Costs4:00 PM EST Fri. Aug. 03, 2012
Every four years, the Olympics provide the opportunity for world-class athletes to raise their games just a little higher. But, the same is also true in the cyberworld. We've looked through a long list of warnings from the Olympic Committee and distilled a few of the ones we thought were not only intriguing but also specifically targeted at unsuspecting spectators.
This email purports to be from the "London 2012 Ticketing Team." You saw them in the opening ceremony, didn't you? Well, the message claims that following an audit of tickets available in advance of second chance sales, authorities are offering the recipient the chance to purchase tickets that have been made available through a previous bidder being unable to pay for them. But, unlike the previous deadbeat, you're expected to pay upfront. After all, it only costs several thousand GBP. The email is followed up with a phone call asking for credit card details.
The recipient receives an email purporting to be from a specific individual who claims to be the "London Olympic Cash Officer" (Where do we apply for this job?), stating that the recipient was selected at random to receive a cash prize of more than 1.6 million GBP. To receive the payment, they have to submit their details to the sender. An email address and phone number are included. Do you suppose the Olympic Cash Officer is subject to random pocket searches?
Another email notifies unlucky recipients that they are among seven winners who will split a cool 7 million GBP. The money is said to be already in the bank, and recipients are even urged to keep their winnings on the down-low until the transaction is complete. To add that little extra dose of credibility, the message is signed by Dr. Beavis. But, neither he nor his associate (presumably Mr. Butthead) was reached for comment.
This email is headed "You are needed ... Get Back to Us," and it informs recipients that they are using the opportunity to confirm if they would like to participate in the Olympic Games as a coordinator or event staffer. The recipient is asked to contact a given individual. Personal details are then required, and people are then directed to a website where they provide payment for the placement services. Gee, getting a job is expensive nowadays.
This scam is in the form of a letter or email that tells the recipient that they had been shortlisted to be a ring steward for the Olympic Games. The message informs the recipient that they will be contacted again in due course if the recipient is selected to be a ring steward and purports to be sent from a given individual. Recipients are asked to call a phone number for additional details, whereupon they are asked to disclose sensitive, personal information. Sounds like a lot of horse ... oh never mind!
As if we weren't getting enough legitimate warnings about viruses, this one appears to be a hoax about a virus that apparently does not exist, according to the Olympics website. It purports to be a warning about an email with the reference line "invitation." According to the message, when you open up this message, it displays an Olympic torch -- nice right? But, it also unleashes a virus purported to destroy your entire hard drive. The message cites a number of news organizations and security vendors discussing how catastrophic the malware is. But, according to the website, no such exploit is underway.
And it goes a little like this ...
"The London 2012 Olympics lottery is proud to inform you that you have won 1,950,000.00 GBP," (We suppose when you're not giving away money, a full 2 million is just too much). Recipients are then asked to provide a wealth of sensitive details, including their passport number. Though, the scammers are also willing to accept a photocopy of the passport itself ... because, you know, criminals often want to make your life easier.
The recipient receives an email indicating that they won a promotion that included "all Internet users" sponsored by a major telecommunications company. The prize is 500,000 GBP, and a bogus reference number is provided. The recipients are then required to contact a specific individual and provide their details in order to claim the prize. We're still stuck on the idea that they reached all Internet users! Just a few people, right?
This one is a text message scam that confirms that the recipients have one 300,000 pounds in the London 2012 lotto drawing. They are asked to call a specific phone number and quote the reference number in order to claim their prize. A number of personal details are requested, putting the respondents at risk of fraud or identity theft.
While it might be too late to be early, it's never too late to be caught in a phishing snare. This file reportedly exploits a buffer overflow in Microsoft Office to download at least two trojans and a host of other malware aimed at unsuspecting victims. Once again, the emphasis is on getting personal information such as credit card numbers, driver license numbers, etc.