5 On Your Side

Learn Not To Get 'Hooked' On Phishing Scam

Posted January 20, 2005

— The

state Attorney General's Office

is alerting consumers about a high-tech way of getting personal information.

With "phishing," people are linked to Web sites from authentic-looking e-mails that tell you to send more information or your account will be "suspended." But, the link takes you the fake Web site, asking for a personal information, credit card accounts or a Social Security number.

"The economic boom caused by the Internet has provided a high-tech crowbar for criminals," Attorney Roy Cooper said.

Cooper teamed up with the North Carolina Bankers Association to get the word out because financial institution names are frequently faked. However, getting the information is just the beginning.

"Phishing is actually the first step in the crim. That's how people obtain information. Then, they go out and actually commit the crime, which is ID theft or financial crime," Cooper said.

Once money is taken from your bank account, it is almost impossible to get back. Officials said the best advice when you get a suspicious e-mail is to simply click "delete."

Something else to keep in mind especially for people who bank online, some e-mails are legitimate, but they are sending you information, not asking for it. If you have responded to one of the e-mails, it is important to call the real institution right away.


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