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Security The Almighty Buck United States

US Financial Quagmire Bringing Out the Scammers 272

Posted by timothy
from the brother-where-is-your-empathy? dept.
coondoggie contributes this snippet from NetworkWorld: "You could probably see this one coming. With all of the confusion and money involved you knew there would be cyber-vultures out there looking to cash in. Well the Federal Trade Commission today issued a warning that indeed such increased phishing activities are taking place. Specifically the FTC said it was urging user caution regarding e-mails that look as if they come from a financial institution that recently acquired a consumer's bank, savings and loan, or mortgage. In many case such emails are only looking to obtain personal information — account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers — to run up bills or commit other crimes in a consumer's name, the FTC stated."
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US Financial Quagmire Bringing Out the Scammers

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  • well ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @08:24PM (#25323137)
    I've heard Americans are so broke they are now scamming Nigerians
    • Re:well ... (Score:4, Funny)

      by svnt (697929) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @08:42PM (#25323263)

      There you are!

      Hey guys, he does exist! You betcha!

    • Re:well ... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 09, 2008 @09:52PM (#25323695)

      I've heard Americans are so broke they are now scamming Nigerians

      Did you see the latest?

      SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP

      DEAR AMERICAN:

      I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

      I am ministry of the treasury of the republic of america. my country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars us. if you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

      I am working with mr. phil gram, lobbyist for ubs, who will be my replacement as ministry of the treasury in january. as a senator, you may know him as the leader of the american banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. this transactin is 100% safe.

      This is a matter of great urgency. we need a blank check. we need the funds as quickly as possible. we cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. my family lawyer advised me that i should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

      Please reply with all of your bank account, ira and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov
      so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. after i receive that information, i will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

      Yours faithfully minister of treasury paulson

  • *illegal* scammers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 09, 2008 @08:26PM (#25323147)
    As apposed to the mortgage brokers, sub prime lenders, financial institutions,ceos that got us into this mess and will walk away loaded and scott free.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by quizwedge (324481)
      Don't forget that it wasn't just the mortgage brokers, but the government requiring banks to loan to people who normally wouldn't qualify for a loan and couldn't afford to pay it back.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Don't forget that it wasn't just the mortgage brokers, but the government requiring banks to loan to people who normally wouldn't qualify for a loan and couldn't afford to pay it back.

        To solve this mystery, we need to look at who ended up losing money out of the fiasco, and who ended up making money. For example, a lot of people who bought houses have now lost everything. Many people's retirement savings are way down. And a lot of those banking and finance types are still getting millions of dollars in bo

      • by vux984 (928602) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @09:50PM (#25323679)

        Don't forget that it wasn't just the mortgage brokers, but the government requiring banks to loan to people who normally wouldn't qualify for a loan and couldn't afford to pay it back.

        Trotting this out are you?

        Its true the government did require to make loans to people who wouldn't otherwise qualify, but that's not really the issue at all. They were forced to assume some extra risk by legislation, any remotely thoughtful person would realize that the banks should have MITIGATED this EXTRA risk, by covering it elsewhere.

        To give you an example, if I run a bank, and the government says, you have to lend money to joe, and I know Joe can't afford it, and will probably foreclose, I don't just "do it and blame the government when joe forecloses", I set the interest rate on ALL my customers a little higher to ensure that when Joe forecloses I'm not bankrupt.

        Thus the government requiring the banks to lend to people who they would otherwise not to, is no different than any other regulation placed on banks, all of which costs them money to satisfy, and in each case they simply pass the cost onto their customers.

        Instead, in this case, they just blindly did it, and worse, they then created mortgage backed securities full of these risky loans and then did the most colossally stupid thing... the thing that caused the REAL collapse of the economy... they LIED about how risky these were, leading them to be GROSSLY overvalued.

        • by quizwedge (324481) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @10:18PM (#25323837)
          I think there's plenty of blame to go around....

          I don't think the government should have forced banks to make loans they were pretty sure would fail. Part of that is my belief in limited government; part of that is that it contributed to the housing bubble and all bubbles have to burst.

          Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should never have bought those bad mortgages in droves like they did. Having a flippant attitude of we'll buy up the mortgages and if they fail, well, we'll just get more money from the government was utterly and completely irresponsible.

          The banks shouldn't have lied about the risk of the mortgage backed securities. I can't fault them too much for selling off the bad mortgages to Fannie and Freddie. They are a business and their job is to maximize profits. Having the person who made the loan having no interest in if the loan failed or not was stupid for the economy, but that's more or Freddie and Fannie buying the bad mortgages. But you're right, the banks do deserve some of the blame for lying about the securities.

          Finally, having bought a house about 10 months ago, I know first hand that there is a lot of paperwork to go through. My wife and I knew what kind of loan we wanted and had done our homework to know what we could afford before we started looking at houses. While it's not popular in an election year to blame the constituency, personal responsibility comes into play. Yes, the people who signed for loans they couldn't afford bear some of the blame as well.

          My point is that people are looking for the one "bad guy" to blame. Pointing fingers at one part of the problem while ignoring the rest won't get us out of this mess.
          • by Wildclaw (15718)

            What I think the grandparent wants to say is that even though the goverment was wrong in its regulations, the market should be able to route around such damage. The interesting discussion is why the market wasn't able to handle the situation adequatly.

            Personally, I am of a very strong opinion that the main fault in the current system is lack of transparency. It is far too easy for companies to hide bad and insecure assets which is highly negative for the market that is supposed to make informed decisions re

            • by wiz_80 (15261)

              One argument is that the lack of transparency was a response to over-regulation in the banking sector. I work for a company which provides software services to help companies with compliance. Banks and other financial organizations queue up to spend millions of dollars on our stuff, because the alternative is spending tens of millions at some body-rental place to get people to do it by hand, or facing fines of hundreds of millions and up.

              This means that there is lots of incentive to minimize the activities

        • by jlarocco (851450)

          But that's the problem. How do you mitigate the risk of "No chance in hell of ever getting the money back"? Which is basically what the government wanted them to do in many cases. The answer is, you package it up, sell it off to somebody else, and let them worry about it.

          I'm not making excuses for the banks, though. As far as I can see, the government, the banks, and the people taking out the crappy loans were all equally responsible. It's a shame they're the ones who will be least hurt by the chaos

          • by omeomi (675045)
            If somebody takes a loan they can't afford and loses their house to forclosure, it's their own fault. When a bank gives out enough bad loans that the bank goes out of business, it's the bank's fault. But when the entire system goes haywire to the point that people who had nothing to do with it are losing money and jobs, it's the government's fault. Blaim the government. And then go vote in somebody better.
        • by ultranova (717540) on Friday October 10, 2008 @09:18AM (#25327377)

          Instead, in this case, they just blindly did it, and worse, they then created mortgage backed securities full of these risky loans and then did the most colossally stupid thing... the thing that caused the REAL collapse of the economy... they LIED about how risky these were, leading them to be GROSSLY overvalued.

          Stupid ? It's a bloody genius thing. They crashed the economy, made sure that their own assets are safe - as they are with government bailouts - and will undoubtedly use those assets to buy lots of stock once the ongoing crash brings the rates low enough. Everything gets blamed on the government - the libertarians and other armchair economists will take care of that - while the masterminds laugh all the way to the bank, which they also own.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by penix1 (722987)

        Don't forget that it wasn't just the mortgage brokers, but the government requiring banks to loan to people who normally wouldn't qualify for a loan and couldn't afford to pay it back.

        Let's make a deal Monte. I won't blame the banks when they actually eat the losses they incurred. So far they haven't. The executives of AIG (not a bank I know but still part of the Golden Parachute Club (TM)) for example went on a spa trip to the tune of half a million dollars right after getting their corporate welfare check

        • by quizwedge (324481)
          I agree that the Golden Parachute Club is ridiculous. And for AIG to take that trip, just shoving it in our faces. I think that the execs that take the bailout money should not get their massive severance or salary. My understanding is that the bill that passed at least attempts to limit that. I won't claim to know what the solution is (I've wondered what would happen if we did just let it all come crashing down), but I certainly am not in favor of setting up a system where you get to keep it if you win
      • Wait a minute, the government REQUIRED banks to loan money to bad credit risks? You want to provide a citation for that one?

          • by hrvatska (790627)

            The end of that article offers evidence that the CRA had a minimal impact on the problem with subprime mortgages.

            "Some commentators note that CRA regulated loans tended to be safe and profitable, and that subprime excesses came mainly from institutions not regulated by the CRA. In the February 2008 House hearing, law professor Michael S. Barr, a Treasury Department official under President Clinton,[63][26] stated that a Federal Reserve survey showed that affected institutions considered CRA loans profitab

            • by electrictroy (912290) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:55AM (#25325969)

              The end of that same article also provides evidence that the CRA *did* have negative consequences
              (especially in conjunction with the repeal of Glass-Steagall Act).

              "Economist Stan Liebowitz wrote in the New York Post that a strengthening of the CRA in the 1990s encouraged a loosening of lending standards throughout the banking industry.[47] In a commentary for CNN, Congressman Ron Paul, who serves on the United States House Committee on Financial Services, charged that the CRA with "forcing banks to lend to people who normally would be rejected as bad credit risks."[55] A Christian Science Monitor editorial also mentions the Community Reinvestment Act and the government-backed Fannie Mae as being laws responsible for pushing banks and mortgage brokers into granting easy credit and subprime loans to those who could not afford them.[56]

              "In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Austrian school economist Russell Roberts wrote that the CRA subsidized low-income housing by pressuring banks to serve poor borrowers and poor regions of the country. Jeffrey A. Miron, a senior lecturer in economics at Harvard University, in an opinion piece for CNN, goes so far as to call for "getting rid" of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as policies like the Community Reinvestment Act that "pressure banks into subprime lending."[57]"

          • The one that contains the phrase "in a manner consistent with safe and sound operations"? That means they need to have a vault and a stereo, presumably?

            Seems some people think that if they repeat the mantra - that government made the banks lend to bums - often enough everyone will believe it.

        • by quizwedge (324481)
          Sure... The one I read (admittedly partisan): http://ibdeditorial.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=306370789279709 [ibdeditorial.com] The one I skimmed enough of to see that it backs me up: http://www.nypost.com/seven/02052008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/the_real_scandal_243911.htm?page=0 [nypost.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FooAtWFU (699187)
      And the government who did their best to subsidize and encourage it!

      Remember? It was back in the Clinton era, and there was a Fannie Mae accounting scandal, and in lieu of the serious reforms they were like "oh yeah yeah we'll be Nice instead and try to extend home ownership to even more Americans, even lower-incme ones!" Yay Subprime!

      And, of course, bad money drives out the good. We're lucky there were as many responsible or quasi-responsible banks as there were. And three cheers for two candidates (fou

    • Why walk away now when you can pick up some more [google.com] before you leave:

      "Days after it got a federal bailout, American International Group Inc. spent $440,000 on a posh California retreat for its executives, complete with spa treatments, banquets and golf outings"

  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @08:28PM (#25323169) Homepage Journal
    So does that make the victims of such scammers cybernetically [answers.com] carrion? As in "brain-dead"? Because that makes way more sense in the face of such a silly buzzword.
  • by gillbates (106458) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @08:29PM (#25323179) Homepage Journal

    That allows investment bankers to pawn off responsibility for their misdeeds on the American public?

    So I'm supposed to pay an additional $10k in taxes to finance the bad decisions of those who foreclosed on middle class Americans? And if I have to pay it over time (as Congress proposed), I'll end up paying even more (because Congress will borrow money to finance the bailout).

    I would say that I've got that money in my 401k, but I doubt it's worth anything now.

    I've got a better idea. Start printing money. Yes, devalue the currency to the point where I can settle my mortgage for a few hours worth of work. If bank CEOs can get bonuses for shafting even the Americans who were smart enough to avoid bad lending practices, we should be able to just print the money to pay off our debts.

    • by PunkOfLinux (870955) <mewshi@mewshi.com> on Thursday October 09, 2008 @08:46PM (#25323293) Homepage

      Yeah, but then your retirement becomes essentially worthless...

      It's wrong that we're paying for their mistakes, and we will be paying for that for YEARS to come.

      This is not capitalism - by influencing the market (especially so heavily) and giving money to institutions just because they're 'a huge part of the economy' we gave up capitalism. These people fucked up - by the tenets of capitalism, if they can't survive this on their own, LET THEM FAIL. Oh, boo hoo, a tough few years. Better than going even further into debt just to bail out a few rich pricks who made the mistake of doing things where the benefits were far outweighed by the costs and potential risks.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by qbzzt (11136)

        Yeah, but then your retirement becomes essentially worthless..

        Your retirement is worthless. We aren't raising enough kids, so the economy won't be able to support us retiring.

        • That's what socking money for retirement is aimed at - self-sufficiency.

          • That's what socking money for retirement is aimed at - self-sufficiency.

            It only works if enough people are producing what you need, so that you can buy it with your stashed money.

            If not, then the stuff you need will rise in price, making your stash worth less (= inflation). Presumably this will cause retirees to get back to work, until the system equalizes.

          • His point is that it doesn't matter how much money you sock away, you can only buy the man-hours of people that exist. Since we're not growing enough new people, the value of your money is going to drop.

            The critical number, that was always critical, whether you're talking about Social Security or your trusty mattress, is the ratio of workers to retireds.

        • by Wildclaw (15718)

          Which is the whole point of working and creating more efficent factories so you need less kids to support you. Of course, that only works when you

          * Are actually concerned about increasing efficency and not about how to best fool other consumers into buying vanity toys and consumption services.
          * Allow ordinary workers to get a decent share of the products produced.
          * Actually have workers and the country save and invest in improvements.

          • by qbzzt (11136)

            If we were willing to accept the standard of living of our grandparents, we could probably have an average work week for 10 hours.

            But most of us are not, we like our toys too much.

      • by FooAtWFU (699187)

        This is not capitalism - by influencing the market (especially so heavily) and giving money to institutions just because they're 'a huge part of the economy' we gave up capitalism.

        We messed up before that - when the government decided that they wanted Fannie Mae to subsidize home ownership for all sorts of people, even lower-income types. Remember those good old intelligent progressive Clinton-era policymakers? And bad money drives out the good. We're just lucky more banks weren't overzealously subprime.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Rakishi (759894)

        This is not capitalism - by influencing the market (especially so heavily) and giving money to institutions just because they're 'a huge part of the economy' we gave up capitalism.

        Oh for the love of god, shut up or learn what the fuck you're talking about. The government been controlling the economy for the past century and been doing it heavily since at least the great depression. The federal reserve and various laws have never allowed capitalism to exist in a pure form for a damn good reason.

        Don't bitch and complain when the government continues to do what it has done for a century. It should have kept this mess from happening in the first place but it didn't and now it's trying t

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bitrex (859228)

        These people fucked up - by the tenets of capitalism, if they can't survive this on their own, LET THEM FAIL. Oh, boo hoo, a tough few years. Better than going even further into debt just to bail out a few rich pricks who made the mistake of doing things where the benefits were far outweighed by the costs and potential risks.

        It's known as the US system of quasi-capitalomarxism called "Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor."

      • by mjwx (966435)

        his is not capitalism - by influencing the market (especially so heavily) and giving money to institutions just because they're 'a huge part of the economy' we gave up capitalism. These people fucked up - by the tenets of capitalism, if they can't survive this on their own, LET THEM FAIL. Oh, boo hoo, a tough few years. Better than going even further into debt just to bail out a few rich pricks who made the mistake of doing things where the benefits were far outweighed by the costs and potential risks.

        Thi

    • by Quasar1999 (520073) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @08:52PM (#25323339) Journal
      I was going to mod you, but I couldn't find '+1 really bitter but ultimately on to something'.

      Sadly your idea of printing money to devalue it to the point where you can easily pay off your debts would work, but only if the US was self-sustaining, which it isn't. And I doubt you'd get the Chinese to agree to devaluing the US Dollar much more, they seem to have a very large amount of US dollars in their hands... some sort of insane trade deficit? They'd probably invade the US to over-throw the government and attempt to stop the devaluation of the currency (and their investment). Somehow I see world war 3 coming out of this royal fuck up by the US.

      It's times like these I'm so happy to live in Canada, and look forward to enjoying the nuclear winter that's inevitibly coming sooner rather than later.
      • China invading to stop the dollar losing value.

        The Canadian pot is obviously top drawer quality.

      • by qbzzt (11136)

        They'd probably invade the US to over-throw the government and attempt to stop the devaluation of the currency (and their investment). Somehow I see world war 3 coming out of this royal fuck up by the US.

        China doesn't have the navy to invade the US. It may or may not be able to nuke the US, but if it does, their investment in Chinese cities will be devalued.

        Our (I'm in the US) standard of living will probably drop, once we can't buy valuable stuff from China for dollars is doesn't cost us anything to produc

      • Uhhh, what? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770)

        I've seen some dumb shit but this ranks way up there. China would invade the US? How? China lacks a large naval for and you might note that there's a very large ocean separating the US from China. Ok so maybe we assume they simply commandeer commercial ships. Great, except those will all be adorning the bottom of the ocean before they get anywhere near the US. For whatever else you want to say about the US they have a very large and capable military and that includes navy. They'd notice (via spy satellites)

      • Though I agree this is not going to be a fun time watching my retirement funds shrink, the last number I seen that this would cost the US would be 2 trillion dollars. That is roughly 9% of the GDP. Bad, yep. Unrecoverable, not even in the least.

        The bigger issue yet again is people. If folks lose confidence in the markets, they will fail regardless of the money that is or isn't there.

        Keep your chin up. The US has been through worse and will get through this as well. Yes, it sucks for those of us not having i

    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @09:05PM (#25323431)
      America as a whole, citizens and government, have a "charge it" mentality.

      Government don't want to tighten their belts because that's an instant turn off to the voters. Nope, rather rack up more debt and hope that you die or leave office before the shit hits the fan.

    • by Maudib (223520) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @10:15PM (#25323815)

      The bailout isn't a bailout. The bankers who screwed up are for the most part being wiped out, along with the investors. Please see AIG, LEH and BS stock prices and you will see that the company owners and the company employees are being entirely wiped out. The "bailout" is preventing the guys who screwed up and are wiped out from wiping out everyone else. Its about liquidity and fear. Good companies are being destroyed due to too much fear and too little liquidity. It isn't a lie when the Fed says that most of what will be bought with the $700 million will be good or profitable. So the feds loose a couple hundred mil on this. Several trillions are being wiped out every week in the stock market.

      • by jank1887 (815982)

        It's all about too little liquidity. But where did their money go? It went into the Mark-to-Market system, or at least got tied up in the related regulations.

        Basically, these banks have tons of cash tied up in different types of loans, which have a certain estimated street value. Then *BAM*, bank X finds out it overvalued a bunch of those loans because the risk was MUCH MUCH higher than it had either pretended or been made to believe. All of a sudden Bank X more-or-less goes out of business because of that

        • by Maudib (223520)

          Well what you describe is only part of the problem though. The 700billion is supposed to offset the damange of mark to market, but banks still aren't lending. They have the money, but they are charging a premium for it to other banks. This lockup is totally fear oriented, no one wants to be the first to lend overnight.

          I abhor the idea of the treasury buying a bank to get around this, but as a threat it is a good play. Banks can start lending again or play Russian roulette and risk being nationalized. This i

          • by jank1887 (815982)

            really? they have the money?

            The bill was just approved and signed last week. Please show me anything that says money has left the gov't coffers yet. Banks still can't lend if all their cash is tied up with mark-to-market.

    • by Fluffeh (1273756)
      It would all be funny and right in your post, if your country (or any for that matter) could continue to exist without a banking and finance group. If any other sector that wasn't needed made such a monumental cockup it would simply self implode and everyone would be "sorry about that mishap, but lets move on". Because however that banking (and insurance, and healthcare and other such operations) are so vital for a country, yes, you do have to cover for their mistakes with your taxes. If you don't it will b
    • by Detritus (11846)
      Lots of ordinary Americans benefited from the real-estate bubble, not just the obvious scammers and thieves. Think of all the people who sold their houses at greatly inflated prices. Think of all the people who have been "livin' large" by cashing out the equity in their houses. How do you recover that money? You can't. Some people profited and society at large gets stuck with the bill when the bubble bursts.
  • by owlnation (858981) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @08:32PM (#25323193)
    Also, look out for legitimate emails from banks -- they are probably being sent by scammers too.
  • Yep. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow,wrought&gmail,com> on Thursday October 09, 2008 @08:32PM (#25323195) Homepage Journal
    One of the scammers was so brazen he came right to my doorstep! Said he needed a "contribution" so he could "go to Washington" and "fix this mess."
    Yeah, right! I fell for that one four years ago!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      One of the scammers was so brazen he came right to my doorstep! Said he needed a "contribution" so he could "go to Washington" and "fix this mess."
      Yeah, right! I fell for that one four years ago!

      We call those guys "incumbents"
      Your default position this election season should be not voting for them.

      Don't listen to campaign promises, look at the incumbent's voting history.

  • by igny (716218) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @08:35PM (#25323211) Homepage Journal
    Paulson's plan is nothing. Throwing $700bln into the financial system... pfft. I am willing to negotiate my plan with Bush and his administration. All I have to do is to realize my loss, and all the stocks will rally to the sky. It will also solve bankruptcy of several big corporations in which I have big (err, now small) positions. I have done so many times in the past, I single-handedly stopped dot-com collapse, helped to avoid a complete meltdown after 9/11, last fall I helped Dow to regain $14k. Unfortunately I have decided to invest a lot in May 2008 again and doubled down just recently. Now the market awaits for me to close all my positions.
  • Scammers? (Score:2, Funny)

    by iminplaya (723125)

    Hell, the elections bring 'em out every two years.

  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @08:44PM (#25323275)
    Hell, it was started by scamers, they wore three piece suits but they were still scammers.
  • Bernanke (Score:4, Funny)

    by areusche (1297613) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @08:45PM (#25323281)

    Dear BENJAMIN BERNANKE,

    I am the Chairmen of the Nigerian Treasury. I have recently come into the possession of inheritance from the Esteemed Master Defenestrator . Unfortunately I cannot use take possession of his honorableness's inheritance locally. I therefore must move it into a foreign account. For the sum of 700 (SEVEN HUNDRED) BILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS (USD$) I can deposit this into your banking reserve system. You may keep 15% (fifteen percent) of the total amount for your troubles.

    We look forward to your correspondence. Please make your time.

    Sincerly,

    Chuck Norris

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @09:00PM (#25323385)

    There goes my strategy for recovering my stock market losses!

  • hmmmmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qzulla (600807) <qzilla@hotmail.com> on Thursday October 09, 2008 @09:33PM (#25323587)
    From TFA:

    Perhaps the concern is unfounded as this PC World article notes. The article states that more than half of us are deleting messages from banks and financial institutions without even thinking twice. Experts say recipients who receive these e-mails believe that all the messages are part of phishing e-mail scams.

    So more than half of the 16 bazillion people are ignoring them?

    My guess is that five bazillon are responding.

    Think about that.

    Fake numbers but you get my point.

    qz

    • I don't see you think you need a disclaimer that a "bazillion" is anything but a fake number.

      Oh... I see what you're saying....

  • by istartedi (132515) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @10:41PM (#25323959) Journal

    1. Delete e-mail.

    2. Log in to bank via their web site.

    What scares me is that while this guards against the garden variety phishing attack, it can't protect me from an ISP DNS compromise. Running *NIX on your home PC or using a Mac can't protect you from that either, so don't get smug. It's a good idea to find an "obscure" yet stable feature on your bank's site. Phishing sites may not take the time to duplicate it. If you know the bank is based in New York, and you traceroute it to Bulgaria, that's a bad sign too. I have to admit I'm not that paranoid though.

    At the very least, 1 and 2 should be SOP for everybody. Financial institutions shouldn't put any kind of hypertext in a mail, and really ought not to even be using HTML mail which was evil right from its inception. I can dream, can't I?

    • Ignore the email. If you really have a problem the bank will freeze your account and phone you to come into the nearest branch and deal with the problem there.
      • by istartedi (132515)

        This doesn't work so well when the "nearest branch" is in New York, and you are in California. Why have such an arrangement? Because they offer the best rates (or at least they did in the past--with such crappy rates and so much risk, chasing bank rates has become way too important; but I digress). In fact though, for that particular account, there has never been an unsolicited e-mail. If there was, I'd be inclined to wait several days anyway. I've never had a bank e-mail that classified itself as "urg

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Phroggy (441)

      What scares me is that while this guards against the garden variety phishing attack, it can't protect me from an ISP DNS compromise.

      Please stop spreading FUD. SSL certificates protect against DNS compromises, because your browser's database of certificate authorities does not depend on DNS to operate. As long as you use your bookmark (instead of clicking the link in the e-mail) and you see the little padlock icon and you don't get a warning message about a problem with the certificate, you're fine.

      I say use a bookmark because https://www.bankofarnerica.com/ [bankofarnerica.com] and https://www.weilsfargo.com/ [weilsfargo.com] look pretty close to legitimate (depending on

  • by danwarne (545932) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @10:51PM (#25324009) Homepage
    "I run a merchant bank that went bankrupt and have recently come into possession of $900 billion in US treasury funds......"
  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @10:55PM (#25324039) Journal
    It seems like the biggest scam does start with line "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
  • A small update of the nice financial situation : General Motors was trading below $5, with market cap of less than 3bn. Its balance sheet shows -55bn negative equity, meaning essentially it should be bankrupt already.

    Back in 1998, this stock was above $90, they had a working EV and a series hybrid version [wikipedia.org] of it.

    Ford is trading below $2 ...

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