Monday, December 13, 2004

Avoid Online Holiday Scams

SBC has posted these updated warnings for holiday scams. Stay smart and don't fall prey to any online tricks this year:

Identity Theft.

Thieves are able to "steal" another person's identity by illegally obtaining sensitive personal information such as credit card or Social Security numbers, often from discarded credit card statements, utility bills or personal checks.

Also known as "spoofing" or "carding," Phishing is a new, but fast-growing form of Internet fraud. Online scammers "fish" for consumers' financial information and password data by sending consumers e-mails that appear to be from well known companies. The e-mails often contain links taking consumers to Web pages that have been disguised to look nearly identical to legitimate companies' sites.

"Do-Not-Call" List Scam.
This scam involves a call from a person claiming to be a state official or member of a consumer advocacy group who asks consumers if they would like to be included in the state or federal do-not-call list. The caller then asks for personal information, like Social Security or bank account numbers, explaining that it is required for enrollment in the registry.

809 Area Code Scam.
This ongoing scam encourages consumers to respond to e-mails, pages or voice mail messages from a phone number with an 809, 284 or 876 area code to claim prizes or receive information regarding a family member. Consumers who return the calls — often to the Caribbean, Canada or other countries — are often charged extremely expensive international calling rates.

Internet Threats.
Consumers should be wary of a variety of Internet threats, from destructive Internet worms and viruses, to online auction scams, money transferring schemes, and more. SBC companies offer in-depth information about existing and emerging online problems affecting adults as well as children.