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Social Engineering and Security

17th June 2013

Last week I received a telephone call from our bank;  the caller explained that before discussing the matter in hand she would need to take me through some security questions.  Naturally I wanted to help and before volunteering information I said I wanted to positively identify the caller.  I first asked for my account number,  this apparently could not be given until I  formally identified myself, as the Date Protection Act would be breached.

I tried to explain that I would be breaching our security management system by giving sensitive information to any caller; she rang off.

I think I should explain what was going on here, we do not bank with Santander so the caller was certainly not genuine. She wouldn’t answer any of my identifier questions, so even if she had been from our own bank she failed the first part.  I always ask for some information not readily available to a member of the public.  When I have any doubts I always take the person’s name and number and then call them back but on the number I have on file.

The number of phishing telephone calls and emails seem to be on the increase and anyone unwittingly supplying information could then find themselves out of pocket when money is taken or identify fraud takes place.

A genuine caller will be more than willing to identify themselves and would not attempt to use the Data Protection Act ploy to hide behind.

The other increasing trend seems to be the emails which seem “too good to be true”.

Here is the latest one I received:

“My wife Violet and I Allen Large won $11.3 million in a lottery 6-49 in July, 2010 and we have decided to donate the sum of $2,000,000.00 USD to you. Contact us via our personal email for more details ( avavioletlrg@rogers.com ). You can verify our story by visiting the web page below. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2010/11/04/ns-allen-violet-large-lottery-winning.html”

If you click on the link it shows:

“The phone hasn’t stopped ringing at Allen and Violet Large’s home in Lower Truro, N.S., since news spread that the elderly couple has given away almost all their $11.2 million lottery win.
It is real shame that the couple’s generosity has been hijacked by crooks for fraudulent activity.  You may notice that the couple apparently won $11.3 million but the email claims this is $11.2 million,  inevitably the crooks attention to detail is poor, so be aware and stay safe.”

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