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Don't get caught in crook's 'phishing' net

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFPN) -- Fishing is an activity enjoyed by many people, but “phishing” is angling of another sort.

“Phishing” is an Internet e-mail scam that tricks individuals into revealing personal information, including Social Security numbers, bank account numbers and passwords.

Typically, the e-mails involve Web sites with familiar logos and companies, like Citibank or PayPal. The Web sites are replicas, and once Internet users enter, they are often urged to “confirm” information that was supposedly lost or misplaced. After users provide the information, their identity is compromised and money starts disappearing.

To protect themselves, Internet users need to first recognize the e-mail as a scam. There are several indicators:

-- The e-mail asks for personal information. Legitimate businesses do not request such information through e-mails. Banks and credit card companies do not need people to provide that information; they already have it.

-- The e-mail does not address the recipient by name.

-- The e-mail does not reference a partial account number.

-- The e-mail warns that accounts will be closed unless the user reconfirms his or her information immediately.

-- The e-mail warns the user he or she has been the victim of fraud.

-- The e-mail contains spelling or grammatical errors.

Other ways to protect personal information include:

-- Contacting the business and verifying the message is genuine.

-- Adopting a general rule not to send personal information over the Internet unless the user made contact first.

-- Contacting legitimate businesses that are being victimized to put them on alert.

For more information on how to protect personal information, visit the Federal Trade Commission Web site at www.ftc.gov/ftc/consumer.htm. (Courtesy of Air Education and Training Command News Service)


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