UK woman loses home purchase deposit to phishing email

uk woman loses home purchase deposit to phishing email american advisors group
American Advisors Group/Flickr
A woman in the UK has been scammed out of her life savings through a simple phishing email orchestrated by cyber criminals.

Londoner Vivian Gabb, 59, received an email that she thought was from her lawyer, she told BBC News. Gabb was in the middle of buying a house and the email claimed she needed to transfer her deposit of nearly £50,000 ($78,000), which she did.

Little did she know her email account had been allegedly hacked and monitored by cyber criminals who pounced on the opportunity to siphon off such a large sum of money from one victim. The criminals had set up their own bank account at TSB under the same name as Gabb’s lawyer, Chris Smee.

The fraudulent email featured familiar and friendly language such as “Dear Viv” used in previous legitimate emails, which fuels her belief that her emails were spied on. “We have changed who we bank with, I forgot to inform you of the changes in the email I sent you yesterday,” read the fake email before providing the new details.

A couple of days after the transaction, Gabb realized Smee’s firm Barnes & Partners had not received the money. When she contacted her bank, it became clear that she was the victim of a scam and the criminals had already made off with the money from their fake account. Gabb, a self-employed Pilate’s teachers and tennis coach, says her banks, Halifax and TSB, are unable to do anything about it.

“Neither bank seems very troubled by my predicament. I am absolutely at my wits’ end with what has happened to me. There is no system of redress and I seem to meet a closed door every way I turn,” she told the Daily Mail.

“Halifax has categorically told me they do not consider themselves to be in any way responsible and TSB will not talk to me due to data protection issues,” says Gabb.

Halifax has said that this is a case of social engineering and it looks at every instance individually. The Metropolitan Police in the UK have also said that it can pursue the criminals but refunds and financial recovery is a matter “between the customer and the bank”.

Phishing campaigns of this size are usually targeted at businesses transferring large amounts of money so this makes Vivian Gabb’s predicament unusual. However once cyber criminals find a potentially lucrative individual in their trawls, they’ll put in some extra effort to land a big payload.


I tried an LTE laptop for a month, and I wasn’t really convinced

LTE laptops offer up plenty of benefits and are becoming more common. After spending one month with one in my daily life in New York City, I really wondered if it is something that consumers really need in their lives.
Home Theater

Boy dies after being electrocuted through his headphones

A 16-year-old Malaysian boy appears to be the latest victim in a growing list of people who have been electrocuted by their smartphones via their headphones. It's believed that a faulty charging cable is the culprit.

‘Fortnite’ streamer reportedly arrested after abusing wife while on Twitch

An Australian Fortnite streamer who goes by the name MrDeathMoth abused his pregnant wife while he was live on Twitch. An anonymous cybersecurity expert took matters into his own hands, resulting in the arrest of the streamer.

3DMark’s Port Royal lets you benchmark ray tracing on Nvidia’s RTX cards

UL is adding another benchmarking utility to its popular 3DMark suite to help gamers measure their graphics card's ray tracing performance. You'll soon be able to measure how Nvidia's RTX 2070, 2080, and 2080 Ti stack up.

Snatch Apple’s 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro for up to $1,200 off at B&H

The latest deal at B&H is offering up 2017 15-inch Apple MacBook Pros, in space gray and silver, with Intel Core i7 quad-core CPUs, 16GB of RAM, and AMD Radeon Pro 560 GPUs with up to 2TB of SSD storage.

Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser may be adding your Chrome extensions

Fans sticking to Google Chrome because due to its vast extension library might be able to switch over to Microsoft's latest iteration of Edge, as a project manager confirms that the company has its eyes on Chrome extensions.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.

Qualcomm’s dual-screen PC concept looks like two connected Surface Go tablets

In Qualcomm's video teaser, we got a glimpse of the company's vision for how a dual-screen ARM PC should work. The internet reacted to Qualcomm's video, calling the device in question merely a mashup of two Surface Go tablets.

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.

Hololens 2 could give the Always Connected PC a new, ‘aggressive’ form

Microsoft is said to be leaning on Qualcomm to power its Hololens 2 headset. Instead of Intel CPUs, the next Hololens could use a Snapdragon 850 processor, allowing it to benefit from the always-connected features.

Chrome’s dark mode may cast its shadow over Macs by early 2019

By early 2019 Google may release a version of Chrome for Mac users that offers a Dark Mode feature to match MacOS Mojave's recent darkening.

These laptop bags will keep your notebook secure wherever you go

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.
Home Theater

Step aside set-top boxes, the best streaming sticks are tiny and just as powerful

Which streaming stick reigns supreme? We pit the Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra against the Roku Premiere, Roku Streaming Stick+, and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K to help you decide which one will be the best fit in your living room.