Burden of spoof
Cyber-criminals have hit millions of Americans with identity-theft attempts that look very much like official information requests from major corporate Web sites. Technical advancements have made it easy for fraudsters to accurately copy the Web pages of well-known companies, making the scam particularly likely to succeed.
Victims have received e-mails that seem to come from eBay, Bank of America, Best Buy and other companies. The messages say that they are alerting customers to problems with their accounts. The e-mails include hyperlinks to realistic-looking phony Web sites where the mark is asked to provide credit card or other personal information.
Since it's so inexpensive to send e-mails, con artists don't care whether most people receiving the messages actually have an account with the named company, explains Eric Wenger, an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission. Criminals can send out 100,000 e-mails for $50 or $100. "If they get one or two hits it's worthwhile," says Wenger. Not only that but they can use the data from previous victims to pay for the next scam.
[ Read more ]
- News: States pass laws to protect identity (14 July 2003)
- News: Fake PayPal site could lead to identity theft (10 July 2003)
- News: Feds: SSA vulnerable to identity theft (10 July 2003)
- News: Law aims to reduce identity theft (1 July 2003)
- News: Taking the offensive on identity theft (29 May 2003)
- News: Try to protect yourself from identity theft (22 May 2003)
- News: Credit card scam raises awareness of identity theft (15 May 2003)
- News: Backup is key to identity theft protection (7 May 2003)
- News: Ex-con man advises on identity theft (25 April 2003)
- News: Identity theft problems in Australia (28 February 2003)
- News: Identity-theft complaints almost double in 2002 (23 January 2003)