I almost fell victim to an identity-stealing scam

I got this email today, and I almost believed it. It’s a typical http://user:password@hostname/ trick. In this case, the user is tricked into thinking that http://www.paypal.com:secure-verifyaccount968ktz642@p9.da.ru/ is a PayPal URL when in fact it’s actually a website served up by http://p9.da.ru/

Here’s the full source of the email message:

Return-Path: <anonymous@m1.netfirms.com>

Received: from m1.netfirms.com (m1.netfirms.com [])

by netspace.org (8.11.6/8.11.6) with SMTP id h410rTR11497

for <webmaster@hebcal.com>; Wed, 30 Apr 2003 20:53:29 -0400

Received: (qmail 48211 invoked from network); 1 May 2003 00:53:51 -0000

Received: from unknown (@

by m1.netfirms.com with QMQP; 1 May 2003 00:53:51 -0000

Date: 1 May 2003 00:53:51 -0000

Message-ID: <20030501005351.31268.qmail@cgi1>

To: "" <webmaster@hebcal.com>

From: "PayPal Staff" <staff@paypal.com>

Subject: PayPal System Update *Urgent Please Read*

Content-type: text/html

X-Spam-Status: No, hits=3.7 required=5.0




X-Spam-Level: ***

<P>Dear PayPal User,</P>

<P>Today we had some trouble with one of our computer systems. While

the trouble appears to be minor, we are not taking any chances. We decided to

take the troubled system offline and replace it with a new system. Unfortunately

this caused us to lose some member data. Please follow the link below and log

into your account to make sure your information is not affected. Account

balances have not been affected.</P>

<P>Because of the inconvenience this causes we are giving all users that

repair their missing data their next two incoming transfers for free! You will pay

no fees for your next two incoming transfers*. </P>





Thank you for using PayPal!</P>

<P><BR>* - If fees would normally apply, you will not pay anything

for the next two incoming transfers you receive. </P>

<P>PayPal Security</P>

<P>PROTECT YOUR PASSWORD<BR>NEVER give your password to

anyone and ONLY log in at PayPal's website. If anyone asks for your

password, please follow the Security Tips instructions on the PayPal


I don’t know who has the power to do this, but p9.da.ru should be shut down ASAP.

In the meantime, I’m going to crank up the score for HTTP_USERNAME_USED in my SpamAssassin user_prefs file.

1 thought on “I almost fell victim to an identity-stealing scam

  1. Mike

    We’ve been getting a very similar scam in Australia except for the targets are internet banking users. A lot of people fell for it too!

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