Home ScamsPhishing Scams PHISHING SCAM – ‘Visa Card Status Notification’

PHISHING SCAM – ‘Visa Card Status Notification’

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

‘Status notification’ email purporting to be from Visa claims that the recipient’s card access has been limited because ‘unusual activity’ has been detected.

Brief Analysis

The email is not from Visa. It is a scam designed to steal the recipient’s credit card data. A link in the email opens a fake website that asks for the user’s credit card number, and other information pertaining to the recipient’s Visa account.

Example

Subject: Access to your Visa card has been blocked
Visa Card Status Notification
We are contacting you to Inform you that our Visa Card security department identified some unusual activity in your card. In accordance with Visa Card User Agreement and to ensure that your Visa Card has not been accessed from fraudulent locations, access to your Visa Card has been limited. Your Visa Card access will remain limited until this issue has been resolved please Click My Visa Card Activity to continue.
My Visa Card Activity
We take your online safety seriously, which is why we use state of the art notification systems to identify unusual activity and a challenge process to validate your details.
Thanks for banking with Visa.
Customer Finance Department

© Visa & Co, 2014.

Visa Card Statement Phishing Scam

 

Detailed Analysis

According to this email, which presents itself as a ‘Visa Card Status Notification’, access to the recipient’s Visa card has been blocked. The message advises that the account limits have been implemented because the Visa Card security department identified some unusual activity on the card.

The message invites users to click a link to resolve the issue and restore access.

However, the message is not from Visa and the claim that the account has been limited is a lie. In fact, the email is a typical phishing scam designed to extract financial information from users.
The email’s links open a bogus website created to closely mirror the look and feel of a genuine Visa webpage. The fake page will include a ‘verification form’ that requests users to supply their credit card number and other account details. After supplying the requested information, users will be taken to a second fake page that informs them that the problem has been resolved and restrictions have been removed.

Thus, victims may go about their business in the mistaken belief that they have rectified the problem with their card and all is well. But, of course, there was no problem with the card to begin with. And, now that they have procured the card details, the criminals can commit fraudulent transactions via the Visa accounts of their victims.

Such phishing scams are very common and continually target customers of major credit card providers and financial institutions all around the world. A well-worn phishing tactic is to claim that the recipient’s account has been blocked or suspended. As in the above example, these scam messages will claim that users can resolve this block by clicking a link – or in some cases opening an attached file – and filling in a verification form.

Be wary of any message that claims that you are required to click a link to rectify an account issue or update account information. If you receive such an email, do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer