Monday, October 09, 2006

MyFreeSweeps: Protecting yourself from fraud

There are many types of email fraud that are sent with the purpose of stealing your personal and financial information. Many fraudulent emails are disguised as legitimate email from sources that you would normally trust. The email may entice you to provide various types of personal and confidential information.

There have been several alerts in the media to warn people against email scams. We wanted to update you on these scams and assure you that we will do what we can to help you avoid compromising any of your financial information.

One type of online scam is called Phishing This scam uses authentic looking emails and web sites to trick recipients into giving personal financial information such as account numbers, credit card numbers, social security numbers, user names, and passwords. The messages sometimes ask the recipients to follow a link and enter the information for verification purposes.

The messages sometimes appear to be from reputable financial institutions. One such email even claimed to be from the FDIC. The email was fraudulent.

One scam email read: "It has come to our attention that your account information needs to be updated...please follow the link below and renew your account information."

We also have been notified of a phishing scam attempting to gain financial information from people with PayPal accounts used to pay for mainly Ebay purchases. The email claims that the user's account may have been accessed by a third party. The user is asked to click on a link included in the email to reinstate their account, which they say has been temporarily limited. The link is actually to a ghost site that looks like PayPal’s site. Once the user is at the fake site, they are asked to verify personal and financial information. When they submit the form with their personal information, it is sent to the people committing the fraud. If you receive emails similar to this one, do not reply and never give any personal or financial information.

Remember, Reputable companies will NEVER email you to request personal or financial information. Please be advised to never provide any financial information via email and be wary of any such request. If you receive an email such as this, please notify the corresponding company immediately of the occurrence.

Be aware of these scams and know that companies are constantly working to protect your information. We encourage you to always be careful with how you handle your personal and financial identity. Remember that reputable sweepstakes will never ask for you to enter in any financial inforamtion. If you ever see a sweepstake that you are weary of let us know at and we will investigate the matter and remove if necessary.

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