Friday, November 07, 2008

Phishing attacks escalate because of financial crisis; phone calls as well as emails try to get personal information

ABC’s Good Morning America this morning (Nov. 7) warned consumers that spammers are increasing their phishing attacks in the wake of the closure or merger of so many banks during the financial crisis. They report that even the president of France had his bank account tapped.

Typically an email arrives warning that a bank account will be frozen if the consumer does not respond with personal information. Often the email has the bank’s trade dress embedded in the HTML and looks authentic. If the user runs the cursor over the links, the actual URL to be linked to may be different from that shown.

Phone scams have increased. People call customers of banks and make the same pitch, asking for personal information. The consumer should ask for a phone number and hang up, and call the bank at the phone number given on the bank’s statement.

Banks never seek personal information by unsolicited email or phone calls.

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