By: Sam Wagmeister
A fraudulent but effective email that appeared to be sent by USAA Bank was blasted out in an apparent attempt to gather personal information and account numbers from computer and smart phone users. The bold headline for the email reads: Required Steps to Remove Suspension on Your USAA Account.
USAA provides banking services to members of the armed forces, their families, military cadets, veterans and other who meet military eligibility requirements. The email however, reached others with no military ties.
“Recent activity noticed from your online account was noted to be from an unregistered or unconfirmed device…We observed you accessed your account from a virus infected mobile phone,” the email states, adding that a hold has been placed on the recipients account. The hold will be removed when the email recipient clicks on the letter’s link.
According to Tom Gorman, Executive Editor of the Las Vegas Sun newspaper, this is a common practice, termed “phishing,” utilized to secure personal information. “I get a lot of these every day,” he said. “If you check the return email address, you’ll almost always find that they’re sent from Russian.”
The fraudulent email was sent from an email address @inbox.ru, the “ru” indicating Russia. Most legitimate emails sent from within the United States emanate from accounts that end in .com, .net, .org or .biz.
“Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication,” says Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia.
The email wasn’t limited to those with USAA eligibility. Fears are that the official nature of the email blast will cause recipients to react by clicking the link. Those receiving the fraudulent email are urged to delete it.
More information on “phishing” scams and how to protect yoursianself is available from the Federal Trade Commission by clicking: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing