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