Thursday, April 17, 2008

Beware of Email "Phishing" Scams

"Phishing" is a scam in which unscrupulous people use e-mail and fake web sites to obtain your confidential information, including your financial information. Once they have this information, they can steal your money, your credit or even--in some cases--your identity.

New "phishing" scams appear nearly every day. Some of the most recent ones involve:

The FDIC has created a web site to help people recognize potential phishing scams. They also give advice on what to do if you suspect that you've been a victim:

[I]mmediately contact your financial institution and, if necessary, close existing accounts and open new ones. Also contact the police and request a copy of any police report or case number for later reference. In addition, call the three major credit bureaus (Equifax at 800-525-6285, Experian at 888-397-3742 and TransUnion at 800-680-7289) to request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit report.

In addition, in some cases, an attorney may be useful to assist you in obtaining reimbursement or protecting your rights.