Scams involving email continue to plague consumers across America, indeed the world. These so called "phishing" scams involve "spoofed" emails meant to draw the unwary to bogus internet sites masquerading as legitimate sites. These scam artists -- phishers -- attempt to hook visitors in by having them divulge certain critical and personal bits of information. Once the information has been divulged the phishers start their dirty work and you have been conned. Several phishing scams continue to persist, the following are three of the most pervasive ones.
1. Financial Institutions. It is highly likely that you have already received this type of notice which appears to have come from your financial institution. It goes something like this:We are glad to inform you, that our bank has a new security system. The new updated technology will ensure the security of your payments through our bank. Hoping you understand that we are doing this for your own safety, we suggest you to update your account , this update will maintain the safety of your account. All you have to do is complete our online secured form. Thank you .
Comment: No financial institution will require you to respond to an email asking you to update your account. In addition, I left in the typos, punctuation errors, and overall poorly worded request just as it is. Finally, many of these scams do not go to account holders as the phishers spam email accounts in the hope that someone will take the bait.
2. Paypal Account. This scam is giving Paypal/eBay fits as its says that billing information must be updated by you, the recipient of the notice. Verbiage is included whereby "Paypal" threatens to close your account if you do not respond, money will be withheld, etc.
Comment: The first time I saw this note, I thought: huh?! The nerve of Paypal! However, I forwarded the letter to Paypal who confirmed its scammy nature.
3. ISP Fraud. An internet service provider has seen a number of "their" letters surface in emails around the US. A common request goes something like this: Dear Comcast customer,
We recently attempted to charge your account but we seem to receive an error when charging your card. This sometimes occurs for a variety of reasons including card expiration, over limit, suspicion of fraud, or several other technical difficulties. Please visit the Comcast Service Center, by clicking on the hyperlink shown below, and update your information so this issue can be resolved.
Comcast Service Center
Comcast Service Department
Comment: Another request to obtain valuable information belonging to you. I have seen 3-4 variations of this letter, all allegedly from Comcast.
Oftentimes, phishers will go to great lengths to copy the company's logo and other pertinent information and include that within the email. Almost without fail they provide a link for you to click on so that you will go to a site thinking that it is legitimate.
Once at the scam site, all kinds of questions will be asked of you including: social security number, credit card information, your address, and more. The more information you give, the easier it will be for you to become a victim of identity theft as the perpetrators assume your identity and open up multiple accounts in your name.
Usually the consumer knows nothing of the scam until they receive letters demanding payment for accounts opened up in their name, calls from creditors, and rejected credit applications because of assumed bad credit.
The best defense, of course, is to not respond to the email. However, you can play an important part in stopping phishing fraud by forwarding a copy of the message to the company being mimicked. Their fraud department will be grateful and you will help them [as well as policing authorities] in their quest to stop phishers in their tracks.
Matthew Keegan is The Article Writer who writes on just about any and every issue imaginable. You can preview samples from his high performing site at http://www.thearticlewriter.com