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    Police Warn About E-mail Scams - Local Article - (added 4-12-05)

    By Andrea McCann, staff writer, Linton Daily Citizen

    E-mail scam artists are going "phishing" for consumers' personal-identity and financial-account information, and in some cases are reeling in the catch of the day.

    The e-mail schemes use logos and messages that look legitimate, but are not. Some even direct people to counterfeit Web sites to trick them into divulging information such as credit card numbers, account user names, passwords and social security numbers.

    Lt. Det. Troy Jerrell said a local man recently fell for one of the scams because he happened to be in the process of switching his bank account from a Regions Bank in Terre Haute to the one in Linton. The man told Jerrell that he received an e-mail message saying his online banking privileges had been suspended until a problem was worked out and that he needed to verify his account information. It looked legitimate, and since he was in the midst of transferring his account, the message made sense, and he replied.

    "An hour later, he got back into the account and noticed unauthorized deductions," Jerrell said. "From the IP addresses, you could tell they were taking place in Texas, Switzerland and Mexico. It was obviously fraud."

    Regions isn't the only business whose logo the criminals are using. They're taking advantage of other banks and eBay, for example.

    "I, myself, have received them from banks where I don't even have an account," Jerrell said.

    He said anyone wanting to take care of banking or other business online should go directly to the company's Web site by typing it in or using a bookmark. They should not respond to the e-mails or click on a URL supplied in one of the e-mails.

    Curt Hatton, vice president branch sales manager of Regions Bank in Linton, and Jeanine Gardner, branch assistant, said most business Web sites are secure. They said Regions customers should not be concerned about going directly onto the Regions Web site.

    "Going onto the company Web site is safe," Gardner said. "Just e-mail received is not."

    Both customers and non-customers have received the bogus Regions Bank e-mails, according to Hatton.

    "Regions Bank would never e-mail any customer or non-customer for personal information," Hatton said.

    "As the Internet gets more sophisticated, people need to be extremely careful about any e-mail they receive."

    Hatton said companies such as Regions and eBay would never e-mail a customer for account information, because they already have it on file.

    "Err on the side of caution," he said.

    Hatton and Gardner said if there's ever a question about the legitimacy of an e-mail message, the recipient should call the business to verify it.

    (courtesy of Linton Daily Citizen April 12, 2005 Edition)


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