SPAM (Junk E-mail)
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Phishing by the Boatload:
Internet Users Must Presume Fraud is Involved When Personal Information is Requested by E-Mail

The current trend in Internet Fraud is “phishing,” a term describing actions where fraudsters imitate legitimate companies in e-mail to entice consumers to share personal information, including credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, user names, passwords or other sensitive information. Fraudsters then use personal information from phishing expeditions for Identity Theft, including hijacking bank accounts and making unauthorized withdrawals or credit card purchases.

The term Phishing comes from the fact that internet scammers “fish” for users’ private information. The most common ploy is to copy the look of a web page from a major website and create a virtually identical page, which appears part of the website.

Some 57 million U.S. Internet users have received fraudulent, phishing e-mail, according to Gartner Group1 and about 1.7 million of them have been tricked into divulging personal information. Seventy-six percent of these e-mails arrived in the past six months and nearly all in the past year, at a cost of $1.2 billion to banks and credit-card companies.

Source: Gartner Group, Phishing Attack Victims Likely Targets for Identity Theft, May 2004