Email Phishing Scam
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Westpac ‘Credit Card Suspended’ Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline
Email purporting to be from large Australian bank Westpac claims that there was an error detected in the recipient’s credit card account and asks him or her to click a link to update account information or risk permanent suspension of the card. 

Brief Analysis
This email is not from Westpac and your credit card will not be suspended if you do not provide information as requested. If the link is clicked, users will be taken to a web page that is designed to look identical to the real Westpac website. Once on the fake site, users will be prompted to fill in personal and financial information which will then be sent to cybercriminals .

Example

Subject: Westpac Update Account Information

Westpac’s Update Account Information

Dear Westpac Customer,

Your Credit Card has been Suspended, as an error was detected in your Credit Card information.

The reason for the error is

1. You have changed your billing address.
2. You have Submitted incorrect information during bill payment process.
3. Your credit/debit card has expired.
4. You didn’t update your Westpac profile.

We need you to update your information for further use of this Credit Card.

you can do so via: [Link Removed]

If you have already confirmed your billing information then please disregard this message
As we are processing the changes you have made.

NOTE: If this is not resolved within 72 hours, we will be forced to suspend your Credit Card Permanently as it may be used fraudulently. The purpose of this verification is to ensure that your Credit Card account has not been fraudulently used

Regards,

Yours sincerely,

Westpac Online Customer Service



Detailed Analysis
According to this email, which claims to be from Australian bank Westpac, the recipient’s credit card has been suspended and he or she is required to resubmit personal information within 72 hours to reinstate the card. The message warns that failing to submit the required information will result in the permanent suspension of the card.

However this email is not from Westpac. Instead, it is a phishing scam designed to steal information from Westpac customers. Links in the message point to a fraudulent website designed to look identical to the genuine Westpac website. Upon clicking the link users will be presented with the following form:

Westpac Phishing Scam

If this from is filled in and submitted, the victim’s credit card details and other personal information will be sent to the scammers and subsequently used to make fraudulent transactions. Victims may also be subject to identity theft.

Westpac has published information on such phishing scams via its website.

Phishing is a very common type of Internet scam that continues to gain new victims every day.


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