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Scammers still phishing

If you receive an e-mail with a message similar to the one below, don't fall for the bait. It's most likely a phishing scam trying to trick you into revealing financial information.

E-mail scam

Scammers phish with security bait
First United Bank says the e-mail, discovered July 30, is a typical phishing scam. The message claims a problem exists with the customer's account, expresses the urgency of a response -- in this case, threatening account termination -- and even puts a name with the e-mail to make it seem legitimate.

First United has never heard of Jeron Burry.

The bank would never e-mail customers about a problem with an account, demand account information the bank already possessed or threaten account deactivation if a customer didn't comply, says vice president of internal audit Lissa Henderson. "As anyone in banking knows, we work hard to maintain a relationship with customers," says Henderson. "You don't threaten to terminate their account."

Real-life fake Web site
The link supplied in the e-mail took consumers to the spoofed log-in page (below), which asked for credit card information and an ATM personal identification number. On the real site, the bank only asks for an online ID number and PIN.

Fake Web site
Fake Web site
Image courtesy of Websense Inc.

How to spot a phishing e-mail
Though phishing scams have been around for a few years, spoofed e-mails still land in inboxes every day. In fact, more than 58 percent of PC users receive at least one phishing e-mail a day, according to results from a 2006 Web poll of business PC users conducted by Sophos, an Internet security company.

In August 2006 alone, the Anti-Phishing Working Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to wiping out phishing scams, received 26,150 unique phishing reports, the second highest count they've ever recorded.

Next: "Characteristics of a phishing scam"
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