December 12, 2006
It's called phishing. Internet fraudsters will send a spam or pop-up message to lure personal information like: credit card numbers, bank account information, and passwords. They are believable messages using words like "update," "validate," or "confirm."
Here is an example of a phishing message: "We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised please click the link below and confirm your identity."
Messages are usually from organizations claiming to be ones you trust like banks or government agencies. In fact the Anti-Phishing Working Group reports there were almost 27,000 unique phishing reports in October alone.
To avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam, there are a few things you can do: If you get an email asking for personal information, don't reply or click on the link. Contact the company by phone, not the number listed in the email. Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Make it a general rules not to email personal information and always review credit card and bank statements.
If you think you are victim of one of these scams forward the message to email@example.com and the company that is being impersonated.