May 24, 2004

Heard about "phishing" ?
The Justice Department recently announced the sentencing of Zachary Keith Hill, of Houston, Texas, to almost four years in prison (46 months) for orchestrating a scheme to defraud consumers of personal financial information via spam email.
Hill plead guilty to two felonies: possessing credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and other access devices with intent to defraud and using those access devices to defraud others of nearly $50,000.
As part of the scheme, Hill would send out spam email to consumers leading them to believe that the email was actually from America Online or Paypal. This technique is a commonly-used online identity theft scheme, also referred to as phishing. The from line identified the sender as billing center, or account department and the subject line carried warnings such as "AOL Billing Error Please Read Enclosed Email," and "Please Update Account Information Urgent!" The text of the message contained a warning that if the consumers did not respond to the e-mail, their account would be cancelled.
Be careful out there!
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