Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Identity theft through e-mails

Hubby gave me this url to read. I found the link and the tips helpful especially for those maintaining an eBay or Paypal account. This Internet Access Tip came from cnet Tips & Tricks and it goes like this...


You open your in-box and find e-mail from eBay or PayPal, warning that your account has been compromised by identity thieves and that you must log on immediately to verify your information. Sounds scary, right? But here's the really terrifying part: that e-mail is a fake, and so is the Web site it's sending you to. If you follow the instructions and provide your account info, so-called phishers will steal your identity. You may soon find that these scammers have used your data to purchase all kinds of things on eBay you've never heard of, and the sellers are demanding payment. Your eBay reputation and your credit rating will be in tatters. And that's just for starters.

Fortunately, there are ways to fight the phishers:

1. Spot phony e-mail.
This e-mail may looks genuine, it even sports the right logos and live links to eBay, but it's really a phishing scam designed to steal your identity.
Neither eBay nor its PayPal subsidiary will ever send you e-mail with live links inside it, says eBay's Jim Griffith, dean of eBay Education. So no matter how real they may look, be aware that any PayPal or eBay e-mail containing live links is an outright fake (also known as spoof e-mail).

2. Think before you click. Never click the live link inside such e-mail; if you want to check your account status, manually type eBay or PayPal's address into your browser and log on normally.

3. Make sure the site is secure. eBay and PayPal use SSL encryption to secure your login info. That means the Web address should start with https: (the s stands for secure), and there should be a tiny, locked icon in the lower-right corner of your browser.

4. Double-check the URL. Some phishers use foreign character sets to create URLs close enough to fool users into thinking they're on the real site. Make sure the site you're logging on to is really and not www.paypä

5. Rat out the bad guys. Identity theft is a serious crime, and the FBI is actively investigating phishing scams and other activities related to ID theft. eBay is also investigating spoof e-mail. If you get phisher e-mail that claims to be from eBay or PayPal, forward it to and file a complaint with the Internet Fraud Complaint Center.

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