After receiving a fraudulent e-mail, Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R, Syosset) is warning New Yorkers to remain vigilant against Internet scams. Marcellino’s warning comes at a time when many Internet sites and financial institutions have been targeted by scammers who send authentic looking e-mails that urgently request personal information to update, validate or confirm your account. Some of the institutions that the scammers are posing as include; PayPal, eBay, Citibank, American Online (AOL) the Internal Revenue Service, and many more.
"Incidences of identity theft have been skyrocketing during the last few years. However, the game has changed for these criminals. Once thieves had to steal information, now, they have figured out a way to get honest, hardworking people to just hand over personal financial information - they ask," said Senator Marcellino.
The best way to protect yourself from "phishing" scams is:
Never click on links in the e-mail message, they may take you to a fraudulent web site designed to look legitimate. Your computer may then be subjected to "spyware" which can read your account information when you are online banking or purchasing items.
Be suspicious of any e-mail with urgent requests for personal financial information and avoid supplying any personal information
Call the company’s customer service department if you believe the request is legitimate, but do not use the phone numbers contained in the e-mail
Always ensure that you're using a secure web site, check the beginning of the Web address in your browsers address bar - it should be "https://" rather than just "http://" The 's' after the http in the address and a lock at the bottom of the screen indicates the link is secure and encrypts data. Though this does not guarantee that the site is legitimate
Forward spam that is "phishing" for information to the Federal Trade Commission's address for unsolicited commercial email, at firstname.lastname@example.org and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the "phishing" email.
"Most people don’t think they will become the victim of identity theft, yet, this crime costs Americans billions. You pay for these crimes in a myriad of ways ranging from increased costs for common items to higher credit card rates. One of the most useful tools available to us in the fight against "phishing" is increased awareness," concluded Senator Marcellino.