Scammers are at it once again, this time targeting Earthlink e-mail account holders with threats of closing their accounts if they don't respond to the request to "update" their account information. The sender, who claims to be from the "Earthlink Technical Support Team," warns that if the user does not respond within seven days, he/she will permanently lose their e-mail account. In an effort to confirm the legitimacy of the e-mail, contact was made with a representative from Earthlink's Fraud Department who confirmed the e-mail is a hoax.
This now all-too-common scam is an attempt to gain personal and financial information by enticing the user to "click" on an attached link, which sends the unsuspecting user to a third party site run by thieves and scammers. Unfortunately, users who respond to the scammers request to provide information such as their date of birth and social security number will more then likely become a victim of identity theft.
"Phishing" scams like this one are made to appear as if they are from a legitimate retailer, bank, organization or government agency.
The Lee County Sheriff's Office encourages you to look for these signs when contemplating the possibility of a fraudulent e-mail:
Generic greeting such as "Dear Customer"
Alarming or urgent statements requiring immediate action
Unexpected e-mails with links or attachments
If you have responded to a phishing scam like this one, take these steps to minimize damage:
Report the incident to the three major credit reporting agencies
Report the incident to the credit card company you gave the scammer
Change passwords to compromised accounts
Routinely review your bank and credit card statements
Scan your computer to check and remove unwanted software
Contact the Lee County Sheriff's Office Fraud Line (477-1242)
SOURCE: Lee County Sheriff's Office