Archive for Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Use extra caution with e-mail requests

October 12, 2005

It doesn't seem that "spoof" is a strong enough word.

That's the term that Internet companies are attaching to fake e-mails being sent out under their names.

These e-mails -- called spoofs -- tell the recipients that their accounts with the companies are being closed, unless the recipients respond to the e-mail and serve up vital information. Obviously, the vital information, which includes Social Security numbers, bank account numbers and personal identification numbers, easily can be used to steal the e-mail recipient's identity.

That doesn't sound like a spoof. That sounds like a living nightmare.

It appears that people intent on committing identity theft are casting broader nets, in hopes that some unlikely victim will get caught up.

Identity theft is a growing industry because it's so lucrative and, apparently, it's difficult for law enforcement agencies to trace.

The Tonganoxie police department's clerk recently received a spoof e-mail purportedly from eBay. She was suspicious and contacted the company, which confirmed the e-mail was a fake.

Technology makes all of our jobs easier -- including the jobs of those who prey on others. Computer users can't be too careful. So whether you're in a chat room or whether you receive an odd e-mail, don't give out personal information.

If you do, the outcome could be disastrous.

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