Email purporting to be an alert from Visa Europe claims that the recipient's Visa card has been violated and that he or she should follow a link to validate card details.
The email is not from Visa and the claim that the recipient's card has been violated is untrue. The message is a phishing scam. People who fall for the ruse and click the link will be taken to a bogus website that asks them to provide their Visa card details and other personal information. Scammers can then collect this information and use it for credit card fraud and identity theft.
Detailed analysis and references below example.
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Last updated: 19th April 2011
First published: 19th April 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer
Example From: Visa Europe Alert
Subject: New Alert: Visa Card Violated
Additional security on our website bring unity and combined strength to our commitment to provide exceptional card in the United Kingdom,
it's strongly required that you should Validate your Visa Card Details. click the Validate link below
Validate card details now
This email was sent automatically please do not respond
Screenshot of scam email According to this email, which claims to be from the European branch of credit card provider Visa, the recipient's Visa card has been violated. The message advises that it is "strongly required" that the user follow a link to validate his or her card details.
However, the email is not from Visa and the claim that the recipient's Visa card has been "violated" is untrue. In fact, the message is a typical phishing scam designed to steal financial and personal information from Visa users.
Those who fall for the trick and click the link in the scam email are taken to a bogus website designed to resemble a genuine Visa webpage. In an effort to create the illusion that the fake page is legitimate, the scammers have incorporated genuine-looking Visa logos, trademarks and formatting.
Once on the fake website, the victim is asked to input his or her Visa card number, password and other sensitive personal information, ostensibly as a means of verifying the account and rectifying the supposed card violation. All information provided on the fake website can then be collected by the criminals operating the scam and used to make fraudulent credit card transactions and identity theft.
Criminals have regularly targeted Visa card users in similar phishing scams over the last few years. Neither Visa nor any of its participating financial intuitions will ever send customers an unsolicited email that asks them to follow a link or open an attached file and provide account details. Any message that makes such a request should be treated with suspicion.
Similar scams target users of many other financial institutions as well as Visa. If you receive an unsolicited email purporting to be from a company, service, or financial institution that claims that you must update your personal or financial details, do not follow any links in the message. Do not open any attachments that come with the email. It is unlikely that any legitimate entity will ask for your personal and financial information via an unsolicited email. If in doubt about a message you have received, always check with the institution directly rather than following a link or opening an attachment.