Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

E-mail fraud

Checking my mail in a break between sessions. I’ve been getting a lot of spam recently along the lines of the following:

Recently we have received an order made by using your personal credit card information. This order was made online at our official or website.

Our Fraud Department has some suspicions regarding this order and we need you to visit a special Fraud Department page at our web store where you can confirm or decline this transaction by providing us with the correct information.

But, if you have never visited our site or made a purchase, you can decline any charges from you credit card, by entering your personal info below. Or, if you feel this method of verification insecure, please visit our highly secure site or

There follows a little form where I can input my credit card information, expiration date, and name as it appears on card.

Other messages are more alarming, along the lines of “This is to verify a charge of $5,000 on your card. If this is incorrect, please give us your card information.”

For the record, real companies NEVER ask for this information in an e-mail. Never, ever.

Update, 11/03/2003: Today I got an e-mail from the same site, announcing the following items for sale:

1. Heroin, in liquid and crystal form.
2. Rocket fuel and Tomahawk rockets (serious enquiries only).
3. Other rockets (Air-to-Air), orders in batches of 10.
4. New shipment of cocaine has arrived, buy 9 grams and get 10th for free….
6. Fake currencies, such as Euros and US dollars, prices would match competition.

What competition? Is there a lot of fake currency on the Web, and I’m just going to the wrong places?


  1. Woah — never saw that particular spam before. Thanks for the heads-up.

  2. You’re quite welcome. It’s very weird stuff, but some of it looks quite believeable.

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