If You Get This E-Mail, Delete It
The latest ploy to steal your
credit card number and personal information is so believable that many
are falling for it. Con artists are using the telephone in an attempt to
trick you to act on an e-mail that looks like it was sent from PayPal,
eBay's online payment service. The e-mail uses the same slick come-on as
many nefarious attempts to steal your personal information, warning you
there was a problem with your PayPal account. But there is no link to
click. Instead, users are asked to call a phone number where an
automated answering machine asks for account information, mimicking the
legitimate ways that customers interact with financial institutions,
reports The Associated Press.
(Phoenix, AZ - Aug. 10, 2006)
Attorney General Terry Goddard
Phoenix, AZ - Aug. 10, 2006) Attorney General Terry
Goddard today warned consumers about a new phishing scam circulating in
the Phoenix area. Consumers have notified Goddard's office of emails
requesting personal identifying information using Chase Bank and Wells
The Wells Fargo email tells recipients that their Wells Fargo account
information must be updated "as part of our continuing commitment to
protect your account and reduce the instances of fraud on our website."
The email provides a link to a phony Web site which appears to be Wells
Fargo and goes on to assure customers that once the information has been
updated, their account will continue to operate as normal.
The Chase Bank email tells recipients the bank will deactivate and
delete CHASE on-line Payments and Transfer services unless they "renew"
their account information. The email also provides a link to a phony Web
"These are scams," Goddard said. "No financial institution will request
personal identifying information by email. I encourage consumers to
report these emails to my office."
Goddard offers the following tips to consumers:
• Never provide your password or confidential financial information to a
link obtained through an unsolicited email. Often these links direct you
to fake sites (but appearing highly realistic) designed to steal
• Be suspicious of any email that requests personal financial
information or directs you to a Web site that does.
• If you want to determine the email's authenticity, call the company
directly using its general information number.
• Check your bank, credit and debit card statements regularly to ensure
that all transactions are legitimate. If you detect suspicious activity,
contact your bank or card issuer immediately.
• Both Wells Fargo and Chase Bank request consumers report suspicious
emails to their fraud investigators. Emails with Wells Fargo logos can
be forwarded to
firstname.lastname@example.org and emails with Chase Bank logos can be
forwarded to email@example.com.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please contact the
Attorney General's Office in Phoenix at 602.542.5763, in Tucson at
520.628.6504, or outside the metro areas at 1.800.352.8431. To file a
complaint in person, the Attorney General's Office has 23 satellite
offices throughout the state with volunteers available to help.
Locations and hours of operation are posted on the Attorney General's
Web site at www.azag.gov. An online
complaint form is also available on the Web site.
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By Susan Morris
FOR THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Recently, I received an e-mail with some excellent advice on protecting
your credit and personal identity. I find it worth sharing.
Here is an abridged version of the e-mail (you can contact me for a copy
of the entire e-mail):
1. On checks, put your work phone number instead of your home phone. If
you have a post office box, use that instead of your home address. If
you do not have a post office box, use your work address. Never have
your Social Security number printed on your checks.
2. Make photocopies of the contents of your wallet. That way you will
know what you had in your wallet. Keep the copies in a safe place.
3. When you check out of a hotel that uses cards for keys, take them
with you and destroy them. Those little cards have on them all of the
information you gave the hotel, including address and credit card
numbers and expiration dates. Someone with a card reader, or an employee
of the hotel, can access all that information with no problem
4. If your credit cards are stolen, cancel them immediately. The key is
having the toll-free phone numbers and your card numbers handy so you
know who to call. Keep those where you can find them.
5. If your cards are stolen, call the three national credit reporting
organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social
Security number. This alerts any company that checks your credit that
your information was stolen, and they must contact you by phone to
authorize new credit.
Here are the numbers you need to contact the credit reporting agencies:
Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
Beware! A Cunning New ID Theft Scam
Most of us take those summons for jury duty seriously, but enough
people skip out on their civic duty that a new and ominous kind of scam
has surfaced. Fall for it and your identity could be stolen, reports CBS
In this con, someone calls pretending to be a court official who
threateningly says a warrant has been issued for your arrest because you
didn't show up for jury duty. The caller claims to be a jury
coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury
duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of
birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest
warrant. Sometimes the crooks even ask for credit card numbers. Give out
any of this information and bingo! Your identity just got stolen. The
scam has been reported so far in 11 states, including Oklahoma, Illinois
Martha Rhynes, a real jury coordinator in Grayson County, Okla., told
KXII-TV, "We never call and ask anyone for their Social Security number,
date of birth, or other personal information." Instead, the courts
communicate with potential jurors only by mail and never by phone,
including people who don't show up. Most states don't even have jurors'
phone numbers until they have actually been chosen to sit on a jury. And
even then, such information is sealed with the court records. Rhynes's
advice? Never give out personal information over the phone to anyone.
"This (scam) is particularly insidious because they use intimidation
over the phone to try and bully people into giving information by
pretending they're with the court system," Scott Holste, spokesman for
the Missouri Attorney General's Office, told the Missourian News.
The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on
their Web sites, warning consumers about the fraud.
Terry Goddard Offers Tips to Protect Veterans
Against Identity Theft
(Phoenix, Ariz. - May 23, 2006) Attorney
General Terry Goddard today advised military veterans to be especially
vigilant about attempts to steal their identity. The risk of identity
theft was heightened for veterans when a burglar stole an electronic
data file from the home of a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
employee earlier this month.
Goddard emphasized that there is no
evidence the stolen data has been used for ID theft purposes to date.
The stolen data includes names, birth dates and Social Security numbers
of all veterans discharged after 1975, those discharged before 1975 who
have filed claims since then with the VA, and some spouses.
"With the stolen information, the thief
could open a new line of credit in a veteran's name," Goddard said.
"There is also an increased risk of tampering with existing credit
accounts. Veterans should take extra care to check bank and credit card
statements for unauthorized usage."
Goddard offered the following steps
veterans could take to further protect themselves:
Free Credit Reports
Arizonans are entitled to one free credit report each year via the
www.annualcreditreport.com or by telephone at 1.877.322.8228.
This Web site allows consumers to request their free annual credit
report from each of the three credit reporting companies - Equifax,
Experian and TransUnion. You can check your report more often if you pay
the fee set by each company. Or, you can sign up for one of the several
credit monitoring services which are available for a fee.
Viewing their credit report gives
consumers a summary of their credit use and an opportunity to determine
if any unauthorized credit lines have been opened in their name.
Place an Initial Security Alert
Anyone can place an Initial Security
Alert on their credit report for 90 days at no charge. These alerts
notify credit institutions to verify your identification before
extending credit in your name. You can contact any of the three credit
reporting companies to place this alert. The company that takes your
request will share it with the other two credit reporting companies. To
place a fraud alert, contact one of the three credit reporting
If you decide to place a fraud alert on
your credit file, it will become more difficult for you to obtain new
credit quickly, but you should be alerted if someone is trying to open a
credit line in your name. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
has set up a Web site (
www.firstgov.gov ) with more information on this security breach.
The VA has also opened a call center to answer questions. Veterans can
call 1-800-333-4636 (1800-FED-INFO) Monday through Saturday between 8
a.m. to 9 p.m. (EST). The VA said it will keep the call center open as
long as needed.