FRAUD ALERT: Phishing Scam Purportedly From Discover Card

by Robert Gregg

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I wanted to send out a somewhat urgent alert to yet another well executed PHISHING SCAM. I received an email this morning purportedly from Discover Card saying my account details had been updated and it provided a link to click to check on the updates. I immediately assumed it was phishing and, of course, didn’t click on the link…. but did notice the following text on the page:

“Please Note: If you did not make this request, please contact us immediately at 1-800-DISCOVER (1-800-347-2683).”

I called the number and, sure enough, it is Discover Card customer service. IMPORTANT- I then went to Discover.com directly from my browser and confirmed that this is their customer service number! Now I am getting concerned that someone might have opened an account in my name (since I have never owned a Discover Card). To investigate I carefully hovered over the link and saw that it took me to “jeainternational.com” Sounds like an international website so now I am confident it is phishing. To further check I looked up jeainternational.com and found it to be:

“Julia Edmunds International seeking qualified caring Medical Professionals from around the world to work in the USA for our Clients”

Now this is really odd. It is apparently a legit website and it has somehow been hijacked by the bad guys. I called Discover and, after taking 10 minutes to get through the automated phone screens, got to a customer service rep. in Arizona. She confirmed that they had just been notified that this is a large scale Phishing attack and I should ignore and delete the email immediately.

But it got me to thinking …..I am in the identity security business full time and it took me this much effort to sort this out. What about people that don’t do this for a living. So I thought it might be valuable to put down the steps you should go through when you get any email you have the slightest concern my not be legit. In chronological order:

  1. Never click on any link in the mail.
  2. Do not reply to the email – it just confirms your email address for them.
  3. Inspect the email sender address. If anything but the exact website of the purported sender it is most likely phishing.
  4. Carefully hover over the link and jot down the targeted domain name.
  5. Go to your search engine and do a “whois” and put in the domain. If this is not the purported senders site than you can be confident it’s phishing.
  6. If you think it could be legit, CALL the company directly to their number found on their website and inquire.
  7. If you screwed up and clicked on the link, immediately disconnect from your internet service and run a complete virus scan to completion. If it does not find anything call the company that was supposedly sending you the email and see what they know about the attack. They will often already have the fix in place.
  8. If that doesn’t work, call your anti-virus service provider and see what they know.

I know this is all a big hassle but it is the times we live in. Hope you find this helpful.

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Robert Gregg, CEO of ID Experts, and a CPA by trade, has an extensive career as an executive.  As CEO of ID Experts, he is committed to protect consumers from identity theft resulting from privacy data breaches, particularly in healthcare. ID Experts provides the absolute best hands on service to prevent and remediate data breaches, and take great care of the victims of a breach.