THE BLOG

When "Phish" Is Really Fishy

06/17/2011 10:39 am ET | Updated Aug 17, 2011
  • Christopher Burgess Author, speaker, advisor, consultant and advocate for effective safety, security and privacy strategies

We all are recipients of spam and phish. Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. By and large, our filters sort out the array of incoming missives and allow those we want into the inbox and those we don't into the junk folder. Yesterday, one slipped through. I opened the email and read the contents. I literally burst out laughing as I worked my way through the text -- it was just too good not to share, as it was replete with clues that this wasn't a legitimate summons. I've taken the liberty to identify each item within this phish, which seems fishy:

From: Dcp Douglas H. King (IPA@region2.com)
Reply-to: darangodan5@gmail.com {1 - replying to a Gmail account for official business correspondence}
To: {2 - there was no name in the To field}
Date Tue, June 14, 2011 at 1:00pm
Subject: RE: International Police Authority United States Section (IPA)
Mailed-by: email.fearrington.com {3 - an individualized email, sent by a bulk mailer}



INTERNATIONAL POLICE AUTHORITY UNITED STATES SECTION (IPA)
Region No. 2 New York City
P.O. Box 804 Knickerbocker Station
New York City, New York 10002-0804 USA

We, office of the international police authority (IPA) hereby write to inform you that we caught a diplomatic lady called Mrs. Patricia Willies at (John F Kennedy International Airport) here in New York with a consignment box filed with United State Dollars. {4 - word choice peculiar}

Meanwhile, base on our interview to the diplomat she said that the consignment box belongs to you, that she was sent by one Mr. David West to deliver the consignment box to your doorstep not knowing that the content of the box is money. The diplomat also said that her first transit in the state was at Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport Ohio. {5 - the state in this instance means United States - the Ohio reference adds another geographical twist}

Now, the diplomat is under detention in the office of (IPA) security, and we cannot release her until we carry out our proper investigation on how this huge amount of money managed to be yours before we will release her with the box. So, in this regards you are to reassure and prove to us that the money you are about to receive is legal by sending us the Award Ownership Certificate showing that the money is not illegal.

Note, that the Award Ownership Certificate must to be secured from the office of Her Majesty Revenue and Customs Unit, because that is the only office that will issue you the original Award Ownership Certificate of this funds, this is because the fund originated from United Kingdom, England. {6 - redirect to a third yet another location - adding the international intrigue}

You are advised to forward immediately the Award Ownership Certificate if you have it with you, but if you did not have it we will urge you to contact back the sender of the diplomat to help you secure the Award Ownership Certificate if at all you did not have it. {7 - word choice}

Below is the contact information of the person that sent the diplomat:


Name: MR. DAVID WEST
Email: darangodan5@gmail.com

Furthermore, we are giving you only but 8 working business days to forward the requested Award Ownership Certificate. Please note that we shall get back to you after the 8 working business days, that if you didn't come up with the certificate we shall confiscate the funds into World Bank account then charge you for money laundering, but if you forward the Award Ownership Certificate then we will release diplomat with your consignment box also gives you every back up on the money. {8 - urgency, consequences and poor word choices}

NOTE THAT THIS BUSINESS DEAL HAVE TO BE KEPT HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL AS REPORTS HAVE REACHED MY OFFICE THAT SOME TOP CORRUPT OFFICIAL OF THE F.B.I ARE TRYING TO STEAL YOUR FUNDS,SO LET NO ONE KNOW ABOUT THIS UNTIL YOUR CONSIGNMENT GETS DELIVERED TO YOUR DESIGNATED ADDRESS. {9 - Secrecy and trust no one, not even the FBI}

Thanks for your understanding and co-operation.
Yours Truly,
I.P.A REGION NO:2
DCP. DOUGLAS H. KING
216.539.5904 {10 - Cleveland area number for a notice being sent from NY}
Cc: FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI USA).
Cc: CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (CIA).
CC: Canadian Police Association
CC: GENERAL INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT (GID)
CC: Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG)
CC: Egmont Group
CC: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
CC: Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
CC: International Monetary Fund (IMF)
CC: International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO)
CC: International Banking Security Association (IBSA)
CC: International Air Transport Association (IATA)
CC: Institut de Formation Interbancaire (INSIG)
CC: World Customs Organization (WCO)
CC: Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
CC: Offshore Group of Banking Supervisors (OGBS)
CC: WORLD CENTRAL BANK (WCB)
CC: NIGERIA POLICE FORCE (NPF)
CC: NORTH YORKSHIRE POLICE (UK)
CC: ECONOMIC FINANCIAL CRIME COMMISSION (EFCC)
{11 - included every conceivable organization, including the one the author admonished you not to tell, the FBI}

As noted, this piece had so many tells that it wasn't difficult to deduce that it is a hoax, designed to get you to email or call the scofflaw behind this piece of stinky phish. So be careful opening your emails, remember if you didn't drop your bag of money, you probably haven't lost a bag of money; that if you didn't buy a lottery ticket you probably didn't win a lottery, and never give out your personal identifying information via email.

NB: I did report the sender/reply-to addresses to their ISP for abuse.

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