Not Just Spam, Identity Theft

Though this story is old, identity theft is a hot topic, accounting for 42% of the fraud complaints reported by consumers last year to the Federal Trade Commission. One of the latest scams revolves around e-mail.

At it's heart are messages purported to be from a company like Wells Fargo. The messages, however, contain links to another site. When the user clicks the links, they are presented with a site that looks like the Wells Fargo site, asking them to log into their Wells Fargo account. When the user does so, the site captures their login information, gaining access to the user's bank accounts.

A list of companies whose customers have fallen victim to such attacks include names like:

How do you prevent falling victim to scams such as these? If you receive an e-mail from a company you regularly deal with asking you for any kind of information, then you may want to respond to the e-mail to ensure that it is valid.

In addition, it pays to start with what you know. If you do click a link in an e-mail and are asked for personal information, just close the browser window. Then, open a new browser and visit the site as you normally would (i.e. by opening a "favorite" or typing the web site address into the location bar of your browser). This will make sure you are, in fact, on the correct Web site.

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