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Phishing Trend Continues

Phishing Trend Continues


Phishing scams in which people use fake e-mails to steal financial information online are a growing problem, experts said.


 Phishing e-mails are sent to thousands of people and are made to look like they're from companies like CitiBank or eBay. The bogus e-mails tell recipients that their account information needs to be updated and asks them to go online to provide bank account, credit card or Social Security numbers and passwords or PIN codes.

"They will either open up bank accounts, they'll apply for charge cards in your name, they'll change the address so in most cases it will be two to three months before you realize that these charges have been made," said Lt. John Gould, who heads the Computer Crimes Task Force for the Rockland County Sheriff's Office in New York.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center estimated people lost $630 million in the last two years in phishing scams.

Victims are losing more than ever in phishing scams, Kim Kleman of Consumer Reports said.

"Our latest survey finds the median cost per victim is $850. That's five times what it was just a year ago," Kleman said.

Last July alone, 154 corporate brand names were used in phishing scams, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, which monitors the problem.

Gould said victims come from all walks of life, and he recommended that people look closely at every e-mail before answering.

"We've had lawyers. We've had judges. We've had several police officers. We've had doctors, just about any profession out there, teachers," he said.

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