Recently I received an email requesting Apple/Amazon/Google gift cards. Is it a fraud/scam?

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Yes, in most cases it is. Recently we received several reports that, someone (most likely hackers) sent fraud messages from hacked Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail/MSN/Personal mailbox requesting Apple/Amazon/Google Gift cards and, set return address to his/her Finmail email address. Since Finmail is a new public email service which is open for signing up, the hacker may take advantage of it and sign up for some unused usernames in Finmail that exist in other email services to forge his/her identity.

According to the received reports, the fraud procedure is normally as follow:

  1. The hacker hacked someone’s Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail/MSN/Personal mailbox
  2. The hacker signed up for a Finmail email account with the same username as the hacked Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail/MSN/Personal mailbox
  3. (Optional) The hacker may set a new rule in the hacked mailbox to redirect all incoming emails in the hacked mailbox to his/her new Finmail mailbox
  4. The hacker sent fraud messages from the hacked mailbox probably based on the contact list in it and, set return email address to his/her Finmail email address
  5. Once the hacker received a reply in his/her Finmail mailbox, he/she pretended to be the acquaintances of the victim and, requested Apple/Amazon/Google gift cards

Note that the “Reply-To” address in an email can be set to any one by the sender and, it is not necessarily be the same as the sender’s email address.

A sample fraud message is as below:

Good Day,

How are you doing? I need a favour from you. I’m Unavailable on Phone, Kindly let me know if you are Online…

Awaiting Response,

Thanks

{name in the hacked mailbox}

If you have received any similar fraud messages, please be aware of such activity. If possible, you are welcome to report such activities to us with the fraud message attached/forwarded.

Thank you for your support!

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