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Watch For Scams Newsletter. Phishing Scam
November 28, 2012
Watch For Scams is dedicated to helping you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
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Phishing ScamThe emails are phishing scams designed to trick users into submitting their email account login details to cybercriminals.
These spam emails warn recipients that their webmail accounts will be closed if the account is not updated or re-validated within a specified time frame. Many of the messages instruct users to confirm their identity by replying to the email with the webmail account username and password and other personal information.
Beware of scam emails that attempt to trick you into sending your webmail account details to Internet criminals.
The message is not from any official webmail "support team" or help desk as claimed. Nor will user accounts be closed if the requested information is not supplied. Instead, the messages are attempts by Internet criminals to fool unsuspecting webmail users into handing over their account details.
Victims who comply with the instructions in the phishing scam emails will in fact be providing the scammers with the means to directly access their webmail accounts. Once armed with the victim's account details, the scammers can login to the webmail account, steal any personal information, and use the account for sending further spam or scam emails.
The scammers can also harvest any email addresses included in the account's contact list and add them to spammer databases.
The scammers have apparently attempted to steal information from users of any webmail service by sending out a generic message that does not name a particular service provider. The message implies that there is some central webmail administrator that oversees all webmail accounts, however this is untrue.
There are now thousands of different webmail providers both large and small. Each is independently operated and they are certainly not under the control of some central administrative entity. Generic admin messages that do not identify the name of the service provider are unlikely to be genuine.
While some providers may close inactive accounts after a specified period, they will not demand that the user provide sensitive information via email or risk losing their account within a few days. Any unsolicited email that makes such a demand is likely to be fraudulent.
You should treat as suspect any email that claims that you will lose your account if you do not provide private information via email or a website. Do not reply to such emails or click on any links.
If you believe you have been a victim of this type of scam you should promptly report it to the IC3's website at www.IC3.gov. The IC3's complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration.
Remember - always watch for scams!
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