Computer Crime Research Center


Reports of Internet fraud on rise in area

Date: September 14, 2004
By: Hall County

The Hall County Sheriff's Office has been receiving many complaints about "phishing" and other types of e-mail and Internet fraud.

Phishing is a high-tech scam that uses spam messages to deceive recipients into disclosing credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, passwords and other sensitive information.

A report from the sheriff's office said that current e-mail messages appear to be from eBay, CitiBank, SunTrust and other financial institutions.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, phishers send an e-mail or pop-up message that claims to be from a business or organization that the recipient may deal with.

Typically, the message will state that the recipient must update or validate account information. It might threaten some dire consequence for not replying, the FTC said.

The message then directs recipients to a Web site that resembles that of the organization, but isn't. Legitimate companies do not ask for this information via e-mail.

Authorities advise area residents not to respond to an e-mail or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, nor should they click on the link in the message.

Those who may have been victimized should contact their financial institutions, the three credit bureaus and Jeff Merry, who is an investigator with the sheriff's office, at (770) 531-6879.

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