Computer Crime Research Center


Phishing scams on the rise

Date: November 24, 2005
By: Christine Bensen-Messinger

In the last two days an unknown number of county residents may have received an e-mail allegedly from Coast Central Credit Union asking that customers verify their account information as well as their ATM pin number and credit card information.

Dennis Hunter, the vice president of marketing for Coast Central, is warning customers not to respond to what is referred to as a “phishing” scam.

“I think the big message that we want to get out there to people is no financial institution will ever ask for your account information over the phone or through e-mail,” he said.

Hunter said he was first alerted to the scam Monday, and before customers could be warned at least one typed in the information.

“We have somebody (whose) account was stripped,” he said.

“The thing is, we’ve built up a lot of trust with our members and unfortunately that’s a real advantage for (people running a scam),” he said.

Aside from the fact that financial institutions do not ask for private account information via e-mail, reading the message closely can also prove it is not authentic.

“I looked at it and I saw the misspellings in it and then I noticed that it had a different address,” Hunter said.

Coast Central is not the only financial agency that has been targeted; local residents have recently received similar e-mails from a variety of other banks, including Wells Fargo, First Credit Union and US Bank.

Phishing scams by phone are also common.

The Fortuna Police Department is warning residents about a “marketing outfit” that has been making unsolicited phone calls to county residents regarding the purchase of a discount coupon book.
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