Laguna Niguel, CA (PRWEB) April 7, 2005
Federal efforts to curb scammers are having little or no effect as internet Phishing scams rise to epidemic levels. Phishing is a scam that deceives users into revealing their credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information. Phishing scammers then use the users sensitive information to commit identity fraud often looting a users bank account, running up illegitimate bills, or committing crimes using the users information.
According to security vendor Symantec Corp., Phishing scams now exceed over 33 million attempts per week. The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers that Phishing scams often claim to be from a business or organization you trust - for example, Ebay, your bank, or even a government agency.
In testimony last month before the U.S. Senate Committee on banking, FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras recently cited a Federal Trade Commission study that nearly 10 million people had discovered they were victims of identity theft.
One of the fastest growing Phishing scams involves phony mortgage emails sent to trick users into revealing confidential information. The FTC recently filed a complaint against 30 Minute Mortgage Inc. of Boca Raton Florida accusing the Âmortgage spamming operationÂ with collecting personal information including income, Social Security numbers, and employment history.
ÂLegitimate online loan sites do not collect private consumer information via email,Â said Cezar Lotrean, Online Security Chief at Snaploans.com. Consumer advocates advise online consumers seeking home loans to use well-known online sites like Lending Tree and Snaploans.com. ÂUsers should be wary of any mortgage offers they receive through email.Â
To protect consumers from Phishing attacks, Snaploans.com offers advice to consumers on how to avoid becoming the victim of a Phishing scam:
1. DonÂt click on links offered in email text, which can often be redirected to illegitimate websites. Instead, type the domain name directly into your browser.
2. Be suspicious of any website address that doesnÂt end in Â.comÂ.
3. Check that the website is secure. A secure website begins with ÂhttpsÂ rather than ÂhttpÂ. Look for a ÂlockÂ symbol at the bottom corner of the web page and click on any ÂSSL CertificatesÂ to make sure they are valid.
4. Keep your browser and Windows operating system updated. Microsoft and other software providers frequently release security patches that close holes in your computer system. These holes could be exploited by Phishers if left un-patched.
5. If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply or click on the links. Legitimate companies do not ask for this information via email.
6. Review credit card and bank statements as soon as you receive them. Notify your bank immediately if you notice any unauthorized charges or suspect you are the victim of identity theft.
7. Report suspicious activity to the Federal Trade Commission. If you get spam that is Phishing for information, forward it to [email protected]
As Phishing attempts continue to escalate, regulators are working overtime to locate and prosecute the scam originators. Consumers can prevent falling victim to this scam by educating themselves and following the tips provided by Snaploans.com.
Snaploans.com connects consumers to registered loan experts who offer fast, free home loan quotes without any obligation. Consumers wanting to lower their current interest rates and payments by refinancing simply fill-out a 30 second request form and receive multiple free loan quotes. Snaploans.com does not collect sensitive information like social security numbers and does not check a consumerÂs credit.
Cezar Lotrean, Online Security Chief
(877) 762-7562 Ext. 704
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