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Crooks try new schemes to hook Internet victims

St. Petersburg

Crooks try new schemes to Hook Internet victims

Beware of new fraudulent schemes on the Internet.

One is an authentic-looking e-mail that reads: "You have been chosen by Wal-Mart to take part in our Customer Satisfaction Survey.

"If you decide to complete this survey, Wal-Mart will send $150 to your confirmed Credit or Debit Card account just for your time."

The e-mail directs the recipient to provide personal account information to complete the survey. This is a scam and a form of identity theft known as "phishing," where criminals pretend to be a familiar financial institution or business to entice you to reveal personal information.

The scams are especially attractive during these tough economic times.

I received another one this week entitled "Your Webmail Account Confirmation." This one actually looks fishy, as it was less sophisticated in appearance and was addressed to "Dear Webmail User" rather than my name. Here's a tip: Always view an unsolicited e-mail that has a generic greeting as suspicious.

The e-mail directed me to confirm my account by providing my e-mail address, my password and date of birth so they could "perform vital maintenance" on my account.

Never provide personal information on the phone or on the Internet unless you initiate and/or trust the transaction. Never click on links in an unsolicited e-mail.

The adage "there's a sucker born every minute" must be true, since new scams pop up every week.

Bill Proffitt, St. Petersburg police spokesman

Crooks try new schemes to hook Internet victims 02/28/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 28, 2009 3:30am]
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