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 or 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 Web site run by thieves and scammers.
Users who respond to the scammers request for information such as 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 people to look for 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, take the following steps to minimize any damage:
- Report 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 LCSO Fraud Line at 477-1242.