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The Annoying Internet Part 2: Phishing

Updated on March 3, 2012

June 10, 2010

Because phishing is so widely talked about, I wouldn’t normally write about it, but, I just came across a really good example of it and wanted to share.  It is helpful sometimes to actually see the scam and not just hear about it

I’ve been looking for a job and was browsing Yahoo’s Hotjobs when I came across the following ad:

Because it is on yahoo’s job board I felt comfortable it was a legitimate listing. Also, you can see above the listing that it is posted on 3 other boards, which would also seem to lend further credibility.

The detailed listing also looks pretty good. There aren’t any spelling or grammar mistakes that often accompany scams (especially the overseas ones). The only thing that didn’t quite seem right was the pay-rate, which I thought seemed a bit much (for an unarmed guard with no experience, I would expect around 12/hr not 16).

Clicking the apply button took me to the company’s website.  Again it looks pretty good.  All of the links work and go to pages with relevant information.  While there isn’t a lot of information given, for a basic website, it is adequate.  The only thing missing that I would expect is some information on actual employees (at least a bio of the owner should be there).

It’s not an award winning website or very big.  Yet, there isn’t anything really missing; no bad links, no grammar/spelling errors.  And it has contact information and an office location.  So I went ahead to the application page…

I actually made it halfway through this form before my spidey sense went off and I remembered one of the the golden rules of internet usage,

Yikes!!  No secure server.  That seemed very strange to me.  If I am submitting an application and personal information such as phone number and address I expect to be on a secure server.  I am very paranoid on the internet – the metaphorical equivalent of someone who thinks every package that comes in the mail is a bomb.  So I personally don’t ever give ANY information out if I am not on a secure server, even something relatively benign like my real name.  And I certainly won’t give out a phone number or address.  You can tell you’re on a secure server by looking in the address bar which should start with https:// as opposed to a regular server which is http://

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It is a transfer protocol that provides “encryption and secure (website security testing) identification of the server”.[1] You can think of it like the difference between transporting a bag of cash in your backseat versus in an armored truck. Keep in mind though that a secure server isn’t necessarily safe. Transporting data might be safe, but anyone can set up a secure server so you have to also trust who you are sending it to.

I decided to do a little bit more snooping on Mann Security just out of curiosity, though, I was already convinced something was phishy.

First, I checked the Better Business Bureau BBB. They had one listing for Mann Security Consulting but it was an older company from Utah and was considered no longer in business by the BBB. I’m doubtful the two are related, but either way, there is no current listing for Mann Security.

Next I checked Oregon Secretary of State for a business license. Again there was none found. And it seems to me they would need one right?

Looking up the domain name, I found that the domain contact was someone named Trista Mann. I found a profile for her on Linkedin which just goes to show you how good of a scam they are running.

Further down you can see her experience.  No other experience is listed other than working for Mann Security at which she evidently in 1 year went from a beginning consultant to the VP of Operations.  Sure she did.

And finally if all of that wasn’t enough I found some information on Web of Trust (WOT) that links Mann Security with a significant phishing operation run by Ayman Ahmed El-Difrawi and his ‘company’ called Internet Solutions Corporation.[2][3]

So in review:

  1. Job a bit too good to be true.
  2. Site good but not quit as good as it should be.
  3. Asking for personal information on unsecured server.
  4. No BBB listing.
  5. No apparent Oregon business license.
  6. Only visible employee doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else.
  7. Suspected links to significant phishing operation.

The first 3 alone where enough for me to walk away from this one, and the other 4 just added confirmation.  Pretty good scam as far as scams go.


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    • profile image

      Alex the MANN 6 years ago

      I also put in my application a few months ago and they actually sent me an email or a text. Don't remember if it was an email or text

      it said something like, "Hello, you recently applied for Mann security. When can you come by for an interview?"

      I didn't respond back because I had decided to stay at my old job.

    • profile image

      Arn2148 7 years ago

      I am in the same boat as you are Mike B.

      I submitted information to a "job posting" for Mann Security Consulting as well. And then I found all of this...If this is really a scam might be worth contacting the big 3 credit firms and make my fraud alerts and stuff are still active etc...

      Funny thing is that I came across Mann Security job on One stop career website (IE: States unemployment office site) I mean my state Kentucky had it on the state'd think if it's a scam that they would have caught it.

      anyway...I just hope that I don't have any problems come from it. But it's nice to know atleast so maybe i'll try and tell KY state employment services that they need to look into Mann Security.

      Anyway, thx for the info folks...

    • profile image

      LL 7 years ago


    • profile image

      loner 7 years ago

      here in austin tx I checked out "Mann security" in the tx Dept of public safety private security web site they are not registerd

    • junkseller profile image

      junkseller 7 years ago from Michigan

      @ Mike B-

      I don't think there is anything you can do. Without some sort of significant legal muscle, I'm not sure you could ever even find out exactly where the information went.

      But even if you could, I am doubtful you could then find out what, if anything, they did with that information.

      If it makes you feel any better, I do not think their operation is about identity theft (as in trying to steal money from your bank account for instance). I think that they just collect and compile information about people, but am not entirely sure what they do with it. One way or another they sell it, I guess - perhaps to those companies that offer background check reports on people.

      Keep in mind I am no expert on any of this stuff. There really must be someone to complain to about something like this. I think I will try and find out because I still see that job posted on Yahoo all the time and every time I do it irritates me.

    • profile image

      Mike B 7 years ago

      I fell for this and submitted info to them! What can I do?!