The Feast of the 7 Phishes

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

Being a “Siciliano” and having roots in Italy, namely Sicily, the little island at the bottom of the boot, we have a tradition where we celebrate “the vigil” (La Vigilia), with a Feast of the Seven Fishes (festa dei sette pesci).

It’s a day of cooking, eating and enjoying your favorite beverage in substantial quantity. I do the cooking and start serving at noon. I generally cook to order and serve lobster, mussels, little neck clams, scallops, squid, also known as calamari, a white fish, sword fish, and a small fish called “smelt”. Funny name, but tasty. Everything is prepared either fried, white sauce or red gravy. It’s a yummy day.

Tis also the season for scamming everyone and anyone who is duped into responding to a “phish” email. Phishing is when you receive an email that looks like it’s a legitimate communication from a bank, retailer, government agency or some other entity informing you that you’ve won something or stand to lose something if you don’t respond.

Around the holidays scammers are in full force and sending lots of emails that look like they are coming from legitimate retailers but are in fact fake and meant to lure you into entering your personal information.

Here are the 2009 7 Phishes to look out for, pulled directly from my inbox:

1. Great Holiday Deals!: “Find out some new facts about the original Swiss things! Leather wallets, authentic jewelry and Swiss watches – are the main details in your life.” Click the link and go to a fraud based retailer that sends you fake goods.
2. Official Viagra Reseller: “There’s no better time of the year to show your lover how much you care. Gift them a years subscription to Viagra!” OMG! They didn’t just say that! It’s a fake, don’t bother.
3. Give Credit Repair for Xmas and Have a prosperous New Year!: “Log in now and get your loved one an updated credit score and start 2010 off looking better financially than ever.” This also means giving some scammer your spouse’s social security number. Not a good idea.
4. Gift Yourself a Russian Bride for the Holidays: “Wide choice of fine Russian girls for any taste are available here.” They first ask you for a deposit to start the “searching for a bride”. Once you wire money anywhere overseas in response to an email kiss it goodbye.
5. Lose That Holiday Ham!: “I lost 17 pounds drinking coffee in time for New Years Eve! You can too!” Do I even need to explain?
6. Bankcard Account Suspention: “We have disabled your account to inactivity. If you plan to go shoping (typo) for your families you should contact us now.” Two typos and bad English. Need I say more?
7. Have a Happier New year with a new Job!: “Shipping managers needed now. Start your own home based business with no money and no inventory.” And become a shipping mule for organized criminals.

Robert Siciliano is a personal security and identity theft expert for See him in action discussing holiday scams on Fox’s Mike and Juliet show. (Disclosures)

*Content expressed in Home Security Source does not represent the thoughts and opinions of ADT Security Services, Inc. unless explicitly indicated.

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