Cyber criminals are always looking for new ways to target and exploit unsuspecting victims. Some criminals use phishers which are fraudulent web sites or emails that trick unsuspecting victims into providing sensitive financial information. Each year during tax season, be on the lookout for unusual emails that appear to be from the IRS.
Find out more about IRS Phishers here.
Cyber criminals are always looking for new ways to target and exploit unsuspecting victims. Some criminals use phishers which are fraudulent web sites or emails that trick unsuspecting victims into providing sensitive financial information. (More on phishers here.) Each year during tax season, be on the lookout for unusual emails that appear to be from the IRS.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft starts when someone uses your personal information to commit a crime without your knowledge. Personal information like your name, social security number and credit card number is very valuable to criminals. Often, identity theft goes undetected, is hard to investigate and can occur far from the victim’s home. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Thieves often use the stolen information to obtain fraudulent credit cards, create fraudulent documentation like driver’s licenses, obtain an bank account in your name or obtain a loan in your name. Often victims are not responsible for these fraudulent accounts, but, resolving these issues is a time consuming and often frustrating experience.
They key to reduce your risk from identity theft is education and prevention.
Fraudsters often use cleverly worded emails to trick unsuspecting victims into visiting bogus websites or provide personal or financial information. These types of emails are called phishers.
Unsophisticated phisher messages often request personal information via email. Typically, these phishers ask for sensitive information such as username, passwords, account numbers or social security numbers. You should be wary of any request for this type of information via email. These offers may appear to be from legitimate sources or attempt to lure victims with the promise of financial gain. No legitimate business will request sensitive personal information via email.
Sample phisher email sent to EarthLink customers. EarthLink will NEVER ask for username and passwords via email. Here is a sample phisher email sent by a fraudster to an EarthLink customer:
Dear Email Account Owner,
This message is from EarthLink Internet messaging center to all email account owners. We are currently upgrading our data base and e-mail account center. We are deleting all our EarthLink Internet and other personal email accounts to create more space for new accounts. To prevent your EarthLink and personal account from closing you will have to update it below so that we will know that it’s a presently used account. We have been sending this notice to all email account owners and this is the last notice/verification exercise.
CONFIRM YOUR EMAIL IDENTITY BELOW
Email Username :………. …..
EMAIL Password :…………….
Date of Birth :…………….
Country or Territory:……….
Warning!!! Account owner that refuses to update his or her account within Seven days of receiving this warning will lose his or her account permanently.
Thank you for using Bright EarthLink Internet!
EarthLink Internet Account Upgrade Team
Tips for avoiding phishers:
- Never send personal or financial information to others through email.
- Avoid clicking on links in any commercial email. Go directly to the legitimate site and log in. If you suspect a phisher, contact the business directly and report the email.
- Only use known contact numbers outside rather than suspicious numbers listed in the phisher.
- If you receive an email from a company you do not do business with don’t open it.
- Regularly log into your online accounts. Don’t leave it for as long as a month before you check each account.
- For directions on reporting phishers to Earthlink, please click on the following link: http://securitycenterkb.earthlink.net/fraudmi.case.asp