On Thursday morning, I received an e-mail from Walmart.com stating, ‘Congrats on creating your Walmart account.’ It looked legitimate, spot-on actually. I even hovered over the links to see the e-mail addresses to which they are linked — all legitimate, but I didn’t dare click, airing on the side of caution.
The ‘Congrats’ message was sent to a general e-mail to which two of us at Instabill have access, to the attention of someone named ‘Den.’ There is no one at Instabill buy that name, so obviously this raised a red flag.
If this was a con job, it’s the best I’ve seen — and I’ve seen quite a few in my short three years in the payments industry.
We’re lucky at Instabill. Recently, we partnered with a new IT firm, Neoscope, that does a lot more than fix bugs in our system; they’re educating us in fraud and cyber crime. So I forwarded the ‘Congrats’ e-mail to my Neoscope colleague, who gave me several explanations:
I’m fearing the worst and guessing that it is scenario No. 3: A gateway for a fraudster slowly, patiently trying to gain trust and lure my credentials, so that s/he can gain access to personal information, such as the logins and passwords to my LinkedIn, Facebook or any e-commerce retailers with which I might have accounts.
I had tweeted about the rogue account last week and tagged Walmart, not thinking much of it. Three days later, I received a Twitter message from a representative with a link to their online customer support. After a 5-minute live chat, the account was deleted. I also received a link to the latest scams Walmart is seeing, which were very fascinating.
That is not an exaggeration.
The value of a consumer’s personal information is worth roughly 10 times the value of a consumer’s credit card information.
There is a short window to commit credit card fraud because the major issuers have become very good at tracking a consumer’s buying patterns and sending alerts when there are irregularities. When a consumer’s personal information is stolen, the fraudsters can wreak havoc. It’s why hospitals and healthcare providers have huge targets upon them.
Our colleague at NeoScope said it best: A password is like a toothbrush. Choose a good one, and never share it.
We cannot preach this stuff enough:
Scams and fraud are coming from every direction nowadays. Have you been a victim? We’re curious to hear your story. Leave a comment below.