Volume 2 Number 15
April 11, 2005







Don't take e-mail scammers' bait

Do you like to fish? So do the crooks. Only thing is, they are not fishing for bass, they are fishing for money.
"Phishing" is the hottest Internet scam to come along. It is a simple scam and most deceiving in the manner in which it is perpetrated. ID thieves copy and paste the logos of your bank or credit card company into phony e-mails and send them to you over the Internet. The e-mail says they need to verify your account information or that your account has been compromised. If you click on the link posted in the e-mail you are immediately directed to a form you must complete. Fill out the form and presto, your ID and money will be stolen.
The crooks are hoping you will provide the information without investigating the source of the e-mail. Unfortunately, they are usually right. People tend to provide the information only to realize after hitting the enter key that perhaps they acted too hastily. The fact is, banks and credit card companies do not contact customers via e-mail, phone or mail to request or verify security information about passwords or personal identification numbers (PINs).
To give you an idea of what to watch for, below is an example of a fraudulent e-mail going out to Fifth/Third Bank customers:
If you choose to ignore our request, you leave us no choice but to temporally suspend your account. We ask that you allow at least 48 hours for the case to be investigated and we strongly recommend not making any changes to your account in that time. If you received this notice and you are not the authorized account holder, please be aware that is in violation of Fifth/Third Bank policy to represent oneself as another Fifth/Third Bank account owner. Such action may also be in violation of local, national, and/or international law. Fifth/Third Bank is committed to assist law enforcement with any inquires related to attempts to misappropriate personal information with the Internet to commit fraud or theft. Information will be provided at the request of law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Please do not respond to this e-mail as your reply will not be received. For assistance, log in to your Fifth/Third Bank account and choose the "HELP" link. Thanks for your patience as we work together to protect your account. Regards, The Fifth/Third Bank Team.
Most phishing e-mails are similar. Therefore, if you see one like this in your in-box contact your bank or credit card company post haste. Also, bear in mind that a phishing e-mail may come disguised as a note from your electricity provider, cable company or other service providers you do business with. Therefore, be vigilant with all unsolicited e-mails.

If you get spam email that you think is deceptive, forward it to spam@uce.gov. The FTC uses the spam stored in this database to pursue law enforcement actions against people who send deceptive email.

Gadsden, Florida's fifth county, was formed in 1823. It once ran from Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Suwannee River to the Apalachicola River. Quincy, the county seat, was incorporated in 1828. The courthouse, above, was built in 1912.