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FBI on a Hunt for Suspected Phishers

The FBI has asked the public to help in identifying several individuals it suspects running an Internet scam in which there was theft of the identity along with the details of brokerage accounts of many people.

The FBI said that in August 2007, surveillance cameras caught some men withdrawing money from various ATMs in Orange Counties and Los Angeles. The agency believes that these men acted as runners or mules by withdrawing funds from Internet brokerage accounts that were compromised by a phishing attack.

The scam resulted in theft of personal information and the identities of about 20 victims across the US and used to transfer money from different online brokerage accounts. The theft through e-mail cost victims US$ 400,000 or even more, the FBI said in a statement that News published on December 13, 2007.

The agency believes these men are part of a criminal network and working in association with people who are committing the outrageous phishing operation.

A phishing scam involves the creation of fraudulent websites and e-mails that appear legitimate and are used to wring out online surfers' personal identification information and financial account details to commit crimes.

Users on the Internet become victims of a phishing attack when they respond to seemingly genuine e-mails asking them to provide their private information. As a way of perpetrating their scams, criminals often copy websites and e-mails of legitimate companies, the FBI said.

In the US, phishing is turning out to be a rapidly evolving form of identity theft on the web causing personal losses in the short run and economic damage in the long run. The phishing scam has the thief pretending to be a genuine person from a legitimate and reputed organization to lure people into visiting phony websites, which ask for their personal information like bank or credit card details.

Research Director and Vice President, Avivah Litan, at Gartner also said in early December 2007 that in the US, 3.2% adults who reported getting phishing e-mails in 2007 has their money stolen due to phishing scams, compared to 2.3% adult victims in 2006. SCMagazine reported this.

Related article: FBI’s ICCC Annual Report Discusses Fraudulent and Non-Fraudulent Complaints

» SPAMfighter News - 12/26/2007

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