FACEBOOK PHISHING: or is it?????

  Faffingwaste 13:32 26 Mar 2009
Locked

Like many, we’ve changed our ISP a few times. Our most recent ISP was BT Internet (until last year.) Though we’re now with a different ISP, we still have a couple of old BT Internet addresses – which we don’t use but which we haven’t deleted in case someone writes to us without knowing we’ve changed our email addy.

Outlook Express does a synchronised pick-up of all our POP3 and so -- just an hour ago -- collected an email sent to one of the old BT Internet addresses – a kind of ‘subsidiary’ addy we never actually used because my wife saw no point in having an addy of her own. So neither she nor I ever gave it out to anyone, or ever sent out any mail from it, either.

The email is, ostensibly, from Facebook.com. It’s landed in that old BTInternet account in my wife’s name. The text of the email is therefore addressed to her, not me. The text is from a friend of ours: Michael, who lives in Spain. But Michael is always “Mike”. He has never sent anything out as ‘Michael’ in all the years we’ve known him and his wife.

(Then again though, this email looks like some kind of auto-mail from Facebook, not from his own email addy.)

The email says he has just opened a Facebook account and loaded it with pictures, topics and events (sic) and he’d like my wife to be one of his friends so she can see his Facebook entries. The email says she can’t be a “friend” until she clicks on a link in the email and opens a Facebook account herself.

I haven’t opened the email or clicked on any links. I’ve instead checked it out via ‘properties’ and have copied the URL link and visited it via Anonymouse. It’s opened a Facebook registration page entirely in German.

I could, of course, ring my friend in Spain and ask him why, at the age of 70, and with no interest in computing that I’m aware of, or photography, he has suddenly decided to join some online community in which I certainly have no interest, either.

But I’m curious as to the views of others on here, because if this is a scam email, how have the phishers managed to latch on to an email address which we don’t use and which we have certainly never given to our friend?

And how would they know about “Michael” when the only address we have for him in our OE address book is in the name of Mike-and-his-wife????

Any ideas, folks?

  lotvic 14:12 26 Mar 2009

Delete it quickly, do not click on any links in the email

here is one example of one of the Facebook threats:
""The latest version of the Koobface virus arrives as an invitation from a friend or contact, when you click on that invite link you will then view a video from a counterfeit YouTube website. You are then told that you need to install an Adobe Flash Plug-in to view the video.

That is when a Trojan horse program gives you the Koobface virus. The worm takes control of the user’s computer, as well as their social networking account. To make sure that the ‘Koobface’ virus does not trick you, only click on links in an email if you are certain that the message is from your friend""

If you do a google search on 'Facebook email invite virus' you will see how the different virus/Trojans work.

  Faffingwaste 16:27 26 Mar 2009

Big thankyou to Marg7 and lotvic: much appreciated. I've followed the search advice you both gave and it's been very helpful, albeit some aspects of this situation remain a puzzle.

For example, the email I received gave my friend's forename and surname. (Sorry, I should've made that clear before.)

And the subject line reads: "Take a look at my photos on Facebook".

I'm not a Facebook user -- I really don't know anything about it -- so the message text itself actually makes sense. . .

. . . Except, as noted earlier, it's 'Dear Wife's Name', and from 'Michael'. And, of course, has landed in a subsidiary email address account our friend cannot know exists, and which my wife has never used herself at any time or ever given out.

The only reason I didn't open the email was because it was from Michael ******, whereas all his emails arrive in his name and that of his wife's: from 'MikeandMel' (she's not Mel, but you see what I mean.)

And the notion that he would ever have uploaded anything to the 'Net, still less to a Facebook account, obviously made that alarm ring louder.

The Koobface virus as described by lotvic sounds horrendous, so I'm glad I didn't open the email!

I've phoned our friend in Spain but no reply, so have emailed him.

Sincere thanks again to you both: this really is a weird one. (And if it turns out to be genuine, I'll be even more bewildered. . .)

* Our PC is pretty well protected but just to be on the safe side, I've run a full-scan Malwarebytes check -- took over an hour, but the end result is nothing found.

  Kevscar1 19:50 26 Mar 2009

Go to facebook search for your friend and see if he is on there with pictures then you will know if it's genuine or not.
I recieved one from facebook 3 weeks ago. A woman asking my age as she thought she had known me previously. I very nearly deleted it but next day searched on facebook. She was my first wifes daughter who I had not seen for 25 years andI know have 5 new grandchildren.

  Faffingwaste 11:34 27 Mar 2009

Hi Marg & Kev: great advice, and much appreciated -- I hadn't realised it was possible to search Facebook so have just done so and discovered, um, 37 people with the same name as Mike's. And out of that lot, the majority don't seem to have their own picture there anyway (which does strike me as a bit odd if it's supposed to be about a book + a face. . .)

Still haven't heard back from Mike in Spain but no matter, the emails have been deleted and the trash box emptied.

Marg: well yes, I can't see the point of Facebook purely for the purposes of uploading photos. I guess it's OK for wider activities but I've always put my boring holiday snaps on Photobucket and sent friends a link. None of whom seem ever to have used it (the link.) Heigh-ho!

I'll certainly not be opening a Facebook account however. Anyone wishing to send me some pix can surely pop 'em into a Word doc and then pdf it, the compression takes it all the way down to a size perfectly manageable as an email attachment (and they can caption the images, too.)

Thanks again, everyone.

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