Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2005 Issue

Gone Phishing? Watch Out For Dangerous Waters.

Paypal

Older style PayPal scam (left) with more sophisticated, believable (but equally fraudulent) appeal (right).


This shortly spread to banks and other institutions. The next one I got appeared to come from Washington Mutual Bank, and it almost had me fooled. I have an account with Washington Mutual, though they have no offices near my home. It's an old IRA account left over from a different time. How on earth would some scammer know I had an account with Washington Mutual? The answer would come in the days ahead, when I got such warnings from Citibank and others where I hold no accounts. They didn't know I had an account at Washington Mutual. They simply send these emails out to millions of people, hoping that those who do have an account with Washington Mutual will fall for the trap. That's why I next received dire warnings from Citibank and others where I hold no accounts.

In the days since these first appeared, they have become more sophisticated. Most of these emails now have the appropriate corporate logos and fine print about opting out of emailings that real messages must contain. They appear to have come from the corporation's email server, and have links to provide your data that appear to go to their website. Few now contain the broken English of the early ones, endearing in the Nigerian emails, but not believable when coming from Citibank, that indicate the message really came from some foreign land. What is really galling is that most now tell you they need your data to protect you from online theft. Someone in Moscow or wherever must be enjoying a good laugh at the irony every time some poor sucker sends out their credit card information, thinking they are "protecting" it this way.

A more recent scam to steal your identity is the one that tells you your package is about to be shipped, and your credit card will be billed some substantial charge, like $250, when it is. If you didn't order anything, don't respond. They aren't really shipping something by mistake. They are just hoping you will make a mistake by responding.

How do you protect yourself from these attempts at identity theft? The one-word answer is "delete." It may not be easy. They seem so real, so believable, so... No! Stop right now. Hit "delete." No company in its right mind will ask you to send such data in response to an unsolicited email any more. If your bank does, you need to get a new bank. Not even a bank in Nigeria would make such a request today.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ian Fleming, <i>Goldfinger,</i> first edition, inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, London, 1959. Sold for $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief, ALS, writing after pledging support to King George III against American rebels, 1776. Sold for a record $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Sonia Delaunay, <i>Ses Peintures</i> . . ., 20 pochoir plates, Paris, 1925. Sold for a record $13,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Diana, Princess of Wales, 6 autograph letters signed to British <i>Vogue</i> editor, 1989-92. Sold for $10,400.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alexander Hamilton, ALS, as Secretary of the Treasury covering costs of the new U.S. Mint, 1793. Sold for $12,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Benjamin Graham & David L. Dodd, <i>Security Analysis,</i> first edition, inscribed by Graham to a Wall Street trader, NY, 1934. Sold for $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> George Barbier & François-Louis Schmied, <i>Personnages de Comédie,</i> Paris, 1922. Sold for $9,375.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli,</i> Paris, 1897. Sold for a record $13,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ralph Waldo Emerson, <i>The Dial,</i> first edition of the reconstituted issue, Emerson’s copy with inscriptions, Cincinnati, 1860. Sold for a record $3,250.

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