Fighting back on email fraud

Another serious-sounding email has arrived:

Halifax PLC. has been receiving complaints from our customers for unauthorised use of the Halifax Online accounts. As a result we are making an extra security check on all of our Customers account in order to protect their information from theft and fraud.

Which might be fine, except I’m not an HBOS customer.

According to the Met Police, the most recent scams are around fake job offers, accommodation – and bank services.

The advance fee fraud – offering you the chance of millions for a small handling charge – seems to be less prominent. Either my spam checker is getting better or the villains have given me up as a lost cause, but certainly I don’t get so many of those emails as I used to.

There are still plenty of the ‘419’ fraudsters out there: one of the fightback sites, Artists against 419, has identified over 32,000. Like the fake bank emails, they often mimic real institutions.

SWIFT is the main money transfer system used by banks. It’s genuine. There on the 419 list is ‘Swift Courier And Security Services’, ‘Swift Management Security’, etc.

The first of these has a plausible looking website but without any registered address or contact details which should ring alarm bells: and according to Artists against 419, it has the Domain Name Owner: Serena Parlarero, 200-203 Holloway Road London, London SE1 2AA.

Which may sound plausible if you’re not a Londoner. But Holloway Road is in N7; 200 Holloway Road is part of the London Metropolitan University site at 166-220 Holloway Road; and SE1 2AA is the postcode for the GLA at City Hall….. Buyer beware.

A more proactive approach than Artists against 419 was taken by one ‘Gilbert Murray’ who carried out elaborate correspondence to waste the fraudster’s time.

He obviously had great fun, even setting up a website to support his fictional village, and generally running a reverse Hustle on the crooks.

But for the rest of us, if you do get any of these dodgy emails, the advice is never reply, but instead forward them to ‘abuse’ at the sending domain name eg abuse at


1 Comment »

  1. David said

    I get these scammer e-mails in my mail every day.

    Every once in a while, one strikes me as funny because of the audacity, or the name of the person, or the spelling… Anyway, I started writing back to these people just to poke fun at them, but in a way that sounds like I am falling for the scam.

    You might get a kick out of reading my responses (sometimes the scammers even write back). I post them with the original names and e-mail Subject lines (to be searchable, in hopes of alerting other potential victims) at a blog I created just for my sarcastic responses, called Scam and Eggs.

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