Internet Alert on Identity Theft

Elvis Elvis

Criminals around the world are stealing credit card numbers, bank account passwords and other sensitive information in greater numbers than ever before. Many of these modern day thieves are using state-of-the-art software tools easily found out on the Internet. These tools allow them to spy on your private Internet habits. They can keep a record of every website you visit, every keystroke you enter and gain access to all your private files on your computer. You, and hundreds of thousands of other people, are at risk if one of these software programs is inadvertently downloaded and installed on your computer.

Some of the technology has been around for years, but security experts say organized crime and other groups are learning to use it in creative ways. Merely surfing the Web — even visiting some familiar and trusted Web sites — can bring dangerous exposure to criminals.

While virus protection and security software can help lower your risks, another scam is raising its ugly head: e-mail “phishing.” Phishing is the random attempt to obtain account numbers and passwords by criminals masquerading as legitimate businesses. The ploy is a hard one to defend against.

Phishing is a type of deception designed to steal your valuable personal data, such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information.

Con artists might send millions of fraudulent e-mail messages that appear to come from Web sites you trust, like your bank, Paypal or one of your credit card companies.

As scam artists become more sophisticated, so do their phishing e-mail messages and pop-up windows. They often include official-looking logos from real organizations and other identifying information taken directly from legitimate Web sites.

Internet Alert on Identity Theft

To make these phishing e-mail messages look even more legitimate, the scam artists may place a link in them that appears to go to the legitimate Web site of a well known company. What happens instead is you’re taken to a phony scam site or possibly a pop-up window that looks exactly like the official site.

These copycat sites are also called “spoofed” Web sites. Once you’re at one of these spoofed sites, they usually ask you to confirm your account number, your password and other personal information. You answer the questions of what you consider to be a reasonable request and that’s when your problems begin. They now have the information they need to empty your bank account or charge items to your credit card.