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Scammers Spare No News or Trick to Attack Internet Users

According to Secretary General of the APWG (Anti-Phishing Working Group), Peter Cassidy, spammers are exploiting anything that comes in news to hook people at random, as reported by NORTHWEST HERALD on May 4, 2009.

As observed, scammers exploit current news events like the fall of faltering financial institutions or the swine flu pandemic, along with a growing number of companies and brands.

In a recent incidence, a lady living in Mchenry County (Illinois, USA) received an e-mail apparently from the Bank of America that captured her attention. The message asked her to update her details in a week's time otherwise she would find her account suspended. The e-mail while addressing to "Valued Bank of America member" cleverly used the logo of BOA.

The lady said that initially, she had thought the e-mail was legitimate due to the logo it used. Although she did not own an individual account with BOA but shared one with her mother, she thought the e-mail possibly referred to an account of her mother, the woman stated.

However, even that assumption was not true. The e-mail counted as one among the 23,000 odd fake e-mails or phishing scams, which move across the Internet every month, victimizing concerned or distracted visitors, according to APWG.

APWG's latest report on phishing e-mail trends states that such campaigns spiked to the highest level during October 2008 with 34,758 cases when news about wavering credit and other financial institutions flowed. Moreover, websites spreading crimeware to infect computers with data stealing trojans increased in number to reach a peak of 31,173 during December 2008, the APWG reports.

Moreover, in 2008, taxpayers complained of over 33,000 fraudulent e-mails to IRS (Internal Revenue Service). Further, the innovative online miscreants devised over 1,500 different scams to lure users to reveal their vital data like usernames, passwords, account numbers and Social Security numbers.

Thus, APWG warns users against following links within e-mails to reach a website, instead access the site directly from the browser by typing in its URL. The agency also alerts consumers to provide sensitive information only through protected websites.

Related article: Scammers Exploit Tax System Resulting in ID Theft

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