Computer Crime Research Center


Cybercriminals get trickier about stealing

Date: February 17, 2004
By: Laura Sullivan

Beware: cyber criminals are "phishing" your personal id, bank account information, credit card number, Social Security numbers and the like. These "phishers" alleged of committing computer crimes know as "phishing", internet fraud, internet scam fill your e-mail box with hundreds of letters with well-concocted tales for you.

Washington -- Sitting at his home in Virginia Beach, Va., Joe Yuhasz almost reached for his wallet when an e-mail message popped into his inbox and told him America Online needed to verify his credit card information.

The site linked to the e-mail looked identical to AOL's billing center, until Yuhasz noticed the domain name was a fake -- a scam commonly known as phishing. Most people recognizing a possible scam would have deleted the message and moved on. But Yuhasz, a cybercrime specialist for the FBI, had other plans.

The ensuing investigation led to the conviction of two people, the last of whom was sentenced last month to four years in prison, and netted hundreds of stolen credit cards numbers from across the United States.

Phishers Helen Carr of Akron, Ohio, and George Patterson of Jeannette, Pa. , missed their mark when they sent special agent Yuhasz their electronic bait from "AOL."

Carr was sentenced to four years in prison on Jan. 20, and Patterson received three years last summer.
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