Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rash of "Phishing" emails

Please beware that a number of teachers have reported receiving emails stating that user needs to "update account information". These emails are referred to as “phishing” and are not legitimate emails. The author of these emails is hoping you will click the link, go to THEIR site, and enter your SSN, credit card, and/or account passwords. DO NOT CLICK THE LINK IN THESE EMAILS!! If the information appears to be from a site that you have an account with, exit the email and log-on through the normal website and check for messages there.

The information below is from the Microsoft website:

How to tell if an e-mail message is fraudulent

Here are a few phrases to look for if you think an e-mail message is a phishing scam.

"Verify your account."
Businesses should not ask you to send passwords, login names, Social Security numbers, or other personal information through e-mail.

If you receive an e-mail from Microsoft asking you to update your credit card information, do not respond: this is a phishing scam. To learn more, read Fraudulent e-mail that requests credit card information sent to Microsoft customers.

"If you don't respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed."
These messages convey a sense of urgency so that you'll respond immediately without thinking. Phishing e-mail message might even claim that your response is required because your account might have been compromised.

"Dear Valued Customer."
Phishing e-mail messages are usually sent out in bulk and often do not contain your first or last name.

"Click the link below to gain access to your account."
HTML-formatted messages can contain links or forms that you can fill out just as you'd fill out a form on a Web site.
The links that you are urged to click may contain all or part of a real company's name and are usually "masked," meaning that the link you see does not take you to that address but somewhere different, usually a phony Web site.
Notice in the following example that resting (but not clicking) the mouse pointer on the link reveals the real Web address, as shown in the box with the yellow background. The string of cryptic numbers looks nothing like the company's Web address, which is a suspicious sign.

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