Help Fighting The Phishers


“Phishing,” a form of e-mail fraud, has become the fastest-growing electronic crime in the country, according to a survey conducted by business software developer Ipswich in Lexington, Mass.

It found that phishing e-mails, in which some pretext is used to ask the recipient for personal information that could be utilized for criminal purposes, is the main culprit behind the jump in spam messages from 62 percent of all e-mail received in the first quarter to 70 percent in the second quarter. To protect unwary Web users from such unscrupulous efforts, New Jersey’s new state law against identity stealing, the “Identity Theft Protection Act,” took effect in January.

E-mail phishing has fostered a cottage industry of antiphishing advice. For example, Bower Web Solutions, a Ringwood Web-design firm, offers a set of five prevention tips to help readers avoid getting hooked on its support page, www.bowerwebsolutions.com.

Rutgers University, too, offers students an educational Web site to help prevent e-mail identity theft. The site (http://rusecure.rutgers.edu/sec_aware/phish.php) features a four-minute video entitled “Bob, You’ve Been Phished.”

While efforts to separate you from your money will no doubt only increase, Bower Web Solutions offers steps you can take:

• Do not answer unsolicited e-mails that ask for personal information.

• Be careful to watch

where you post your e-mail address.

• Do not open what appears to be spam.

• Do not e-mail any personal or financial information.

• Use a spam filter for your e-mail.

• Report anything suspicious. Contact the legitimate company in the suspect e-mail by means of an e-mail address or phone number that you know is correct.

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