Warning: Internet “Phishing” Scams
Con-artists use phony e-mails and web sites to obtain victims’ account numbers. Scams may be disguised as hurricane appeals.
The “bait” or lure usually is an official-looking e-mail
message that appears to be from your bank, your Internet service provider, or
some other major company -- or perhaps a hurricane-aid group like the Red Cross. The message asks you to click on a link to a web site in order to
make a donation, or perhaps to “update” or “validate” or “verify” your account
or Social Security Number. The message
usually sounds persuasive and urgent (“Your donation is crucial,” or, “Your account
will be closed if you don’t reply at once.”)
How to avoid being hooked by a “phishing” or “spoof e-mail” scam:
C Don’t reply to e-mails that ask for your personal information. If there’s any question, contact the company by phone at its regular number on your statement. Call or look up web sites yourself for bona fide hurricane-relief organizations.
C Don’t send personal information by e-mail – it’s just not safe. Use only secure web sites -- indicated by a padlock icon or “https” web address.
C Always examine your account statements for unauthorized charges. Report any suspicious activity to the business, and to the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. Put a security alert on your credit bureau files. For more details and information on avoiding identity theft, visit the Attorney General’s web site.
If you think you have been cheated by a “phishing” scam, contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, Hoover Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. Call 515-281-5926, or
toll-free. The Web site is: www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.org
Consumer Protection Division Hoover Building Des Moines, Iowa 50319 515/281-5926