TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: One in Four Netters Get Phony E-Mails

One in Four Netters Get Phony E-Mails

Jennifer C. Kerr (
Fri, 9 Dec 2005 16:40:29 -0600

About one in four Internet users is hit with e-mail scams every month
that try to lure sensitive personal information from unsuspecting
consumers, a study says.

Of those receiving the phony e-mails, most thought they might be from
legitimate companies -- seven in 10, or 70 percent, were fooled by the
e-mails, said the report.

The study released Wednesday by America Online and the National Cyber
Security Alliance looked at Internet security and "phishing scams."

Phishing refers to e-mails that appear to come from banks or other
trusted businesses and are used to induce recipients to verify their
accounts by typing personal details, such as credit card information,
into a Web site disguised to appear legitimate.

"What's happening is that more and more people are actually engaging
in transactions online that would generate e-mail traffic that the
scammers are copycatting," said Tatiana Platt, senior vice president
at AOL.

The study found nearly three-quarters of those surveyed, 74 percent,
use their computers for sensitive transactions such as banking, stock
trading or reviewing medical information. That leaves phishers with a
good chunk of Internet users to target, Platt said.

Platt said too many people still don't have adequate computer security
to guard against viruses, hackers and other threats. The study found
81 percent of home PCs lacked at least one of three critical
protections -- updated antivirus software, spyware protection and a
secure firewall.

The researchers conducted in-home interviews with more than 350
Internet users nationwide. The researchers also reviewed the e-mails
received by those households.

The Federal Trade Commission has several tips to keep from getting
hooked by phishers:

_If you get an e-mail asking for personal information, call the
company directly or type in the company's correct Web address. Do not
click on the link provided in the e-mail.

_Use antivirus software and a firewall. This can protect a user from
accepting unwanted files that could harm a computer or track a
consumer's Internet activities.

_Don't e-mail personal or financial information.


On the Net:

National Cyber Security Alliance:

Federal Trade Commission:

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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