Unfortunately, science and technology often get ahead of good sense. Changes should not be based on whether or not it is possible, it should be based on whether or not it is good for the human race. Along with new technology, for instance, came a scam called advance credit card phishing. Few people, however, even know what phishing is.
Phishing is where a person with illegal intent in mind uses a fraudulent email or online shopping site to acquire personal credit card information. This scam, however, has now extended to gaining entry into bank and credit union databases making it even more difficult to protect personal information.
This scam is actually quite easy which is why it has become so popular with con artists and thieves. Generally a well-phrased email is sent that appears to originate from a person’s bank or credit card company. A warning flag to look for is that the request will include personal information claiming there is a need to confirm confidential information. Generally when these emails are ignored, follow-up mails may be received that threaten to close the account unless confidential information is revealed.
Another popular strategy is where fake shopping websites are launched that only accept online credit card payments. This one is harder to detect as these sites appear to be real with real products. Unfortunately, when ordering from these sites, products are not delivered and instead the credit card is charged again and again. Unfortunately, in both instances the result can be high credit card charges and drained bank accounts.
Right now phishing messages are being targeted to specific groups. Government and military employees, credit union and bank customers, and many others are all receiving messages indicating that accounts have been frozen and cards have been deactivated. What is most disconcerting is that many of the new messages are requesting recipients contact a toll free number in order to correct the problem. What few know, however, is that thieves are on the receiving end of that call documenting personal information and quickly moving the money to international shores.
Don’t be fooled by copyright notices in the name of the financial institution, references to the FDIC, or any other verbiage that may seem authentic as it is more than likely fake. One of the keys to identifying these scams is to know that when calling the toll free number rather than just being asked for the card number, the expiration date and pin number will also be requested. By contacting the financial institution directly, scams can be avoided.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Cyber Crimes Division, these scams are very difficult to shut down. Once identified, the telephone company will cancel the toll free number and web hosting companies can shut down an operation within a matter of minutes. However, keeping them down is the hard part since it’s so easy to open a new telephone line or forward calls to international lines and websites can be launched within a matter of minutes.
With today’s international communication sources it’s always important to be wary rather than to step into a situation that may be irreversible. For a mere $250 any thief can steal millions within a matter of minutes. Just make sure that the money illegally gained does not belong to you.