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Even fraudsters need copywriting services

Posted on July 26, 2010

 

I wrote about this phishing email I received last year on my own personal blog, but thought it was a good idea to mention it again as the subject is very relevant to writing content.

A phishing email, in case you didn’t know, is an email that is sent by a fraudster attempting to steal vital information from you by deception. The fraudster will send the email as though it has come from your bank, from eBay, from PayPal or from some lottery agency proclaiming that you’ve won several million Ugandan dollars. You get the idea.

When you click on the link within the email, or reply to it, you will be providing your information to the fraudster. Some of these fraudulent emails are very clever, and look very convincing, and often come with websites that are perfect replicas of the actual websites in question (such as a copy of Lloyds TSB’s website, which the email I received had).

You’re supposed to be fooled into thinking that the website is genuine, and attempt to log in as prompted. In doing so, rather than logging in, your details are being stored by the fraudster so that they can log in to your bank account and do what they wish with it (clear it out usually).

It’s all very straightforward, and all highly illegal. Of course, the success of these phishing emails depends on their authenticity – which is where copywriting services come in. Luckily, most fraudsters who use this form of phishing email don’t use English as a first language, and their grasp of the English language is very poor. They also don’t know the difference between UK English, and US English (note the reference in this email to ATM machines).

Have a read of what I received, and see if it would have fooled you:

FROM: Lloyds TSB [onlinebanking@lloydstsb.co.uk]
Subject:
Lloyds TSB Alerts : Irregular Check Card Activity

Dear Customer ,

We have informed that you have received unauthorized access to your Lloyds TSB ATM Card by date of April 08 2009 ,
We already put your account on third party until the verification is finish
We ask you now to Log-In to your internet banking and check your statment .
We asking you to Log in immidiatly to your Internet Banking and and follow this steps

1. Log-In to your internet banking by clicking here
2. Check your recent statment

Please make sure to let us know if there is any authorized withdraw from your Lloyds ATM Card

Lebel Operation :
4670659

Your account is on the third party and is will be untill you finish the steps
Lloyds TSB , United Kingdom
***********************************************************
This message and any attachments are confidential and intended for the named addressee(s) only. If you have received this message in error, please notify immediately the sender, then delete the message. Any unauthorized modification, edition, use or dissemination is prohibited. The sender does not be liable for this message if it has been modified, altered, falsified, infected by a virus or even edited or disseminated without authorization.
***********************************************************

While the content of this email is clearly very poorly written, and unlikely to fool anyone, it is indicative of the poor quality content that does exist online. This type of content could even exist on your own website if you do not use the correct content provider, or simply leave your website’s content up to the intern.

Would this reflect well on your company’s image?

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  • Steve Logan says:

    I received a near identical email a couple of years ago. Unfortunately I was one of those idiots that clicked on the link.

    In my defence though, I was having issues at exactly the same time with the same bank so stupidly assumed it was legitimate. I logged in and then scanned back over the email – IDIOT!

    Same issue you found except what stood out for me was the use of ‘z’ instead of the UK ‘s’ in a couple of words. Sheepish call to the bank immediately, no online banking for a few days.

    Knowing your audience is key, even if you are a shonky African money launderer.

  • Carl says:

    I love the term ‘shonky African money launderer’ – class!

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