Thursday, October 21, 2010

Online scammers use Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to bait people

The first half of the final installment in the Harry Potter saga, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be released next month and as Harry Potter enthusiasts all over the world eagerly wait in anticipation, Symantec have already started observing spam messages around this event.

Spammers have been trying to put innocent fans under their “spell” by promoting fake offers such as asking users to sign up “TODAY” to get all seven books in the Harry Potter series.  As an incentive, users will purportedly receive free tickets to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows PART I. A great lucrative offer that one just cannot afford to miss!

Here’s a sample message from this campaign:

Subject: Get your HP 7 Tickets Now
Subject: Movie tickets and book collection


When the ‘Submit’ button is clicked, users will be asked to provide their email address and other personal data and are then redirected to a “complementary” offer of a four days/three nights stay in a luxury resort:

Harry Potter scam

Last year, Symantec had observed spam targeting Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and had discussed the attacks on the Symantec Security Response Blog. This time, Symantec have noticed an early spam wave and are expecting it to grow as the release date draws nearer. Beware, or you might find yourself bewitched by The Deadly Hallows of Spam!

Symantec advises users to be wary of such unsolicited offers and not be lured by “the spell” of such email harvesters:

  • Always apply common sense rules - be careful what you click on. Exercise caution when clicking on links from unknown senders. Always maintain a level of caution around any messages from within a website or that appear to be sent by a website – check the URL.  It’s best to type the URL directly into the address bar.
  • Look for signs of identity theft. Be on the lookout for things in the mail, including credit cards you did not request. Clear signs of lingering identity theft problems include being contacted by vendors regarding accounts you are unaware of, or worse, debt collectors for purchases someone else has made.
  • Use website rating services such as Norton Safe Web ( to check if a website is safe. Norton Safe Web is a community where web users collaborate to report and share dangerous phishing or malware websites. Norton Safe Web Lite ( can also be downloaded for free for a safer search experience
  • Stay informed. For more information on digital dangers and other protective measures, visit

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