Phishing News: Is this the Bank of America?

- by Michael Stillman


Would the Bank of America really send out a survey like this?

By Michael Stillman

From time to time we write about the latest in phishing expeditions we come across. "Phishing" is that process where someone sends you an email, requesting personal information they can use, essentially, to rob you blind. The supposed sender, of course, is not the real sender. It is someone masquerading as a legitimate institution to gain your trust.

This month we have a warning to watch out for an email supposedly from the Bank of America. This warning is only for our naivest readers, as anyone who cannot see through this scam should not be allowed to have a computer. The message begins, "As you know, Bank of America always cares first of all for comfort and safety of the users." No, I didn't know that. I thought they were interested in my money. Then, "To make our service even more convenient and to improve results of mutual partnership we have made a decision to specify some features by asking our users." Really? Does everyone at Bank of America speak like Borat?

I was about to discard this with the other 150 pieces of spam I received this morning when I noticed that to make my being their client "even more comfortable and convenient and to treat it seriously," they would offer me $15 to complete a survey. Well, what if this is real? After all, $15 is $15. So I went to their survey. They asked me, "How do you can estimate the quality of services provided by us?" Okay, no proofreaders are perfect. However, among the possible answers were, "Good. There are some aspects to improve, but in a whole it arranges me." Arranges me? How does it do that? For those less satisfied with the B of A's performance, there was, "Disgustingly. I shall change the bank at the first opportunity." I've heard of providing bad service, but disgustingly? For those who think that first answer was also a typo, they then ask, "Does the work of our site arrange you?" and one of the answers is, yes, "disgustingly." This bank truly arranges me disgustingly.

Once I filled in and submitted their questionnaire, it brought me to a page seeking a bit more information. This information is needed so they can send my "15$ for filling in the questioning without disturbing you by phone and asking you to visit the bank." That's considerate. Other than my name and address, all they required was my social security number, account ID and password, my credit card number, expiration date and verification code, my ATM account number and PIN, my "site key questions," phone number, and my mother's maiden name. That sounds reasonable enough. After all, I'm getting $15 -- or is that 15$ - for this. But I declined anyway. You see, I don't even have an account with Bank of America. I can't be fooled that easily. If you get this email, and like me, have no account with this bank, I suggest you delete it immediately. And if you do have an account with Bank of America, I suggest you delete it even faster.