Computer Crime Research Center


Double check your e-mails, phishing

Date: June 23, 2006

Double-check the e-mails you get. They may not be what they seem. Scam artists are pretending to be legitimate companies. It's called phishing, with a "ph." Usually they appear to come from banks. This time it's Comcast Cable and High-Speed Internet.

Here's how it works: You get an e-mail which looks like it's from Comcast. They want credit card and personal information. Comcast says hit the delete button.

"I really didn't expect anything to be wrong with it," says Comcast customer Bill Mataxas. At first sight, Bill thought this was an actual e-mail from Comcast. "The logo on the e-mail was very official. Typical Comcast logo," Bill said.

Then he saw the red-flags. "The more I read I realized they were asking questions of a private nature. I saw spelling errors. I said this can't be right. Wait a minute I'm not going to do this."

"First thing I think of: It's not from us, what's going on," Comcast Vice President and general manager Mike Daves told WTOC. Daves says he always heard of banks being used by scammers. Then, last week, Comcast became the bait for phishing scams. "You know, we are the #1 broadband provider in the area. I hate to say it, but we are eventually going to be a target," Daves says.

The e-mail Bill received went out to people all over the country asking for account, social security, and pin numbers. Even your mother's maiden name is requested, a common word people use when they forget their passwords.

"Comcast never has and never will request that kind of information from our customers," Daves said. "But how many people do know that?" Bill asked. He is warning other to open up your eyes and beware of these scams. "I almost took the bait and I've been in computers since the 1960's. I want to make sure people don't get taken by it," Bill said.

If you get a suspicious e-mail, there are two things you could do. #1: delete it. Or report it to the Federal Trade Commission: [email protected]

If you have responded to one of these e-mails, or have been scammed, immediately contact your bank or credit card company and let them know what has happened.
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