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Consumer Alert: SBC Customers Warned To Protect Against Newest Online Scam Designed To Steal Consumer Identity

Source: Press Information Worldwide
By Connie Paige
Date: January 27, 2004

SBC companies issued a warning today that consumers should be cautious in responding to suspicious emails requesting personal information, including user identification and credit card information. It could be an identify theft scam.

Individuals are reportedly receiving emails that appear to be from SBC Billing Services or SBC Staff, or SBC Internet Services stating that their account will be suspended or terminated unless they provide updated billing information. These emails are fraudulent and do not come from any SBC company or affiliate. Those responsible for sending these messages may be attempting to obtain personal information from recipients with false claims that "account information needs to be updated" or that "any failure in updating your records will result in account suspension."
Some of these emails direct consumers to a "look-alike", unsecured web site and requests they enter the updated credit and personal information - such as User IDs, passwords, and ATM passwords. No SBC company has requested this information and cautions you not to provide your information to this web site.

Identity Theft is one of the most rapidly spreading crimes, involving illegally assuming someone else's identity. Offenders rob consumers of credit card, social security and other sensitive personal information, often to establish a new line of credit.
The SBC family of companies is committed to helping customers avoid fraud and identity theft, and works directly with customers who have fallen victim to such practices to resolve their claims.

How SBC Companies Protect Customer Information Online:
You can trust your information to the SBC family of companies. SBC Online Services is a licensee of the TRUSTe Privacy Program (www.truste.org). TRUSTe is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to enable individuals and organizations to establish trusting relationships based on respect for personal information and fair information practices. SBC companies have privacy practices reviewed for compliance by TRUSTe.

The SBC family of companies is committed to protecting customers' personal and account information. The company takes all necessary steps to maintain and protect the security of its servers and the personal information of customers. The company has established appropriate physical, electronic and management safeguards to prevent unauthorized access, maintain data accuracy and ensure only appropriate use of information. SBC Online Services require user names and passwords to access sensitive data and uses industry standard encryption methods to protect customer data transmission.
Tips for Safeguarding Your Personal Information:

Identity Theft is a serious crime. Here are some tips to help you protect your personal information and credit status:
Be cautious. Ask Questions. Individuals may misrepresent themselves as an SBC representative. If you get a notice, via email, that your account will be shut off with little or no notice, you should be suspicious and seek clarification from SBC. If for any reason, you are concerned, contact an SBC customer service representative using the number found in your monthly bill or in your phone directory.

Protect Your Identity. Avoid emailing personal or financial information and only use secure Websites. Look for a padlock in the lower right hand corner of the Internet browser - this indicates a secure Website.
Carefully read all communications from utility companies and credit companies. Ensure that you thoroughly understand all communication from these companies. Confirm all reported changes to addresses and services listed for your accounts. If your statement is late by more than a week, call your billing company or bank to confirm the billing address, balances, and services on your account.

Know your information. Check your credit reports once a year from all three of the major credit reporting agencies. By understanding your credit report and confirming the information contained, you will be better prepared to identify possible fraud early.

If you believe that you are a victim of identity theft, you may also contact Local Law Enforcement Agency.

Original article

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