St. Louis, Mo., April 13, 2011 – Just days after millions of email addresses were stolen from Epsilon, a major email serving firm, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is seeing one of the first phishing scams derived from the breach.
Phishing scammers pose as reputable companies to fraudulently obtain your personal information such as logins, passwords, credit card information or account numbers. If you are a customer of one of the companies that had email data stolen, the BBB is warning you to be on the lookout for phishing emails.
“These hackers want you to hand over vital information that can ultimately lead to identity theft,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB president and CEO. “Consumers need to know the red flags to keep their identity protected.”
In this case, the BBB is seeing emails being sent from a fake 'Chase Bank,' one of the companies whose data was compromised. The email warns that ‘your account’ will be deactivated or deleted if you do not update your profile immediately. The email instructs you to click on a link to update your information.
The BBB believes there could be other phishing emails shooting through cyberspace. The following tips can help consumers confronted with phishing scams.
- Never reply to unsolicited emails. If the message includes a link within it, never click it. Many schemers use this as way to spread a viral attack on your computer.
- Do not give personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you via email. Your bank, the IRS or a law enforcement agency will not contact you by email. They will send you a letter.
- Spread the word. Discuss phishing scams with all family members who have email addresses. Young people may be computer savvy, but not scam savvy. Older adults often are targeted by scammers, too.
- Transmitted information should be encrypted. When sending personal information like addresses, credit card numbers and Social Security numbers over the Internet, make sure the website is fully encrypted and the network is secure. Look for https (the “s” stands for secure) at the beginning of the URL address.
- Know the red flags. Poor grammar or misspelled words are red flags that the email is probably a scam. Most importantly, never wire money based on instructions in one of these suspicious emails. Scammers prey on those who think they need to wire money to have a situation resolved.
- Protect your computer. Keep your antivirus software up to date and run it regularly.
For more tips on protecting yourself from fraud, go to www.bbb.org or call 314-645-3300.
Contacts: Michelle Corey, President & CEO, 314-645-3300, email@example.com, or Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, 314-645-3300, firstname.lastname@example.org