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Yolo DA Alerts Users of Phishing E-mail

As per a warning from Jeff Reisig, District Attorney (DA) of Yolo County, many internet users are getting e-mails asking for personal and secret account information, as reported by DailyDemocrat t on December 22, 2008.

In the e-mail, the sender often pretends to be a government agency, bank or companies such as PayPal or eBay. However, he/she is actually a criminal, according to the DA. These attempts to capture personal information are known as "phishing", a practice that is now widespread, explains Reisig. The message directs users to click on a link to submit or update the information.

In addition, the sender phishes for private information by creating a fake website where users are directed to furnish information like password, account number, social security number and PIN number. In case, users supply these details, their accounts or other assets might be stolen.

Phishers also provide links to closely resembling websites where users are tricked into revealing their personal financial details.

The chief motivation that drives phishing e-mails is ID theft. Scammers trick users into visiting their fake website to steal their personal information. If any doubt about the sender's authenticity is felt, it is best to contact the organization from where the e-mail has arrived. Usually, business e-mail contains a telephone number.

Besides, the G-Next sophisticated tools are available to phishing scammers. With them, scammers can embed hidden code into e-mail that assists in tracing the recipient. If there is a 'spam beacon", it enables the sender to know that the recipient's e-mail address is valid and active. Almost 50% of the total spam are vexed with 'spam beacons' for locating users who click on junk e-mail, according to e-mail filtering company MX.

Thus, the DA cautioned users to safeguard themselves by not opening or replying to e-mails requesting for personal information. Such e-mails might contain trademark symbols, fancy graphics along with a genuine-looking e-mail ID, but they might be fake.

Besides, the number of phishing assaults has been growing rapidly, as MessageLabs' Intelligence data indicates that the average spam level during 2008 reached 81.2%.

» SPAMfighter News - 12/29/2008

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