PHISHING: Bait or
(From the Federal Trade Commission)
“We suspect an unauthorized
transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is
not compromised, please click the link below and confirm
“Phishers” send spam or pop-up
messages claiming to be from a business or organization that
you might deal with — for example, an Internet service
provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a
government agency. The message usually says that you need to
“update” or “validate” your account information. It might
threaten some dire consequence if you don't respond. The
message directs you to a website that looks just like a
legitimate organization's, but isn't. The purpose of the
bogus site? To trick you into divulging your personal
information so the operators can steal your identity and run
up bills or commit crimes in your name. Don't take the bait:
never reply to or click on links in email or pop-ups that
ask for personal information. Legitimate companies don't ask
for this information via email. If you are directed to a
website to update your information, verify that the site is
legitimate by calling the company directly, using contact
information from your account statements. Or open a new
browser window and type the URL into the address field,
watching that the actual URL of the site you visit doesn't
change and is still the one you intended to visit. Forward
spam that is phishing for information to
email@example.com and to the
company, bank, or organization impersonated in the phishing
email. Most organizations have information on their websites
about where to report problems.
2. DON'T WIRE MONEY TO STRANGERS.
One rule will prevent a majority of losses: DON'T WIRE MONEY. If you send it to a thief, your money will disappear, sometimes to Latvia, Canada or other exotic places. Yes, overseas thieves have targeted residents of "sleepy little Jackson". The schemes can be complicated. The victim is told that he won a lottery but must pre-pay the taxes; someone is sent a check, told to cash it, keep some, and send the rest; someone posing as a grandchild is stranded and needs money. There are always new stories, but the common denominator is the money has to be wired. Jackson residents have lost thousands of dollars to these frauds.
Don't wire money as a down-payment for anything purchased in an on-line auction. When buying on EBay, follow that company's instructions carefully regarding escrow services. Fraudulent sellers have been steering people into using phony escrow companies, with the usual results.
If you're tempted to wire money because of a phone call or email message, please contact the police department first.