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Don't get taken phishing

So, just what is "phishing"?

+ The latest, and perhaps most brazen, Internet scam to catch the Federal Trade Commission's attention.

+ A swindle in which con artists e-mail seemingly authentic notices from America Online, PayPal, eBay or other online businesses, with a link to a finely crafted Web site asking for updated billing information, including Social Security numbers, ATM passwords and credit card account numbers. Such information is used in identity theft and to make fraudulent charges.

+ A con that has helped raise the number of people scammed nationally by 79 percent, to 7-million, in the past 12 months, according to Gartner Inc., a private research company.

+ The subject of a new FTC consumer alert, sparked by legal action against a 17-year-old Californian who stole more than $8,000 in goods and services through fraudulent e-mails to AOL subscribers informing them there was a problem with their accounts and asking for new credit card numbers.

_ Washington Post

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