Foiling the Phishers.
Phishing is a growing form of online fraud. It blends old-fashioned confidence scams with innovations in technological trickery. The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to remember that real companies almost never send e-mail asking you to submit any personal data.
Phishers use "spoofed" [fake] e-mails and fraudulent websites designed to fool you into divulging personal financial data such as credit card numbers, account usernames and passwords, Social Security numbers, etc. By hijacking the trusted brands of well-known banks, online retailers and credit card companies, phishers can fool you.
They often include fancy graphics, trademark symbols, and an authentic-looking e-mail address in the "from" line, but all of these things can be faked easily. One of the easiest ways to tell that it comes from a phiser is if the message tries to scare you into giving up personal and financial information by saying that your account needs to be verified, updated or confirmed. If you think a message might be legitimate, contact the organization by phone or open a new Internet browser window and type in the company's Web address. Do not cut and paste material from suspicious e-mail messages and never reply to a suspected phiser.
Be smart. Be safe. Here's more on how to avoid these phishing scams: PHISHING
On another fraud front, many people have been contacted by perpetuators of what's known as the Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud or "4-1-9" scheme -- so named after the section of the Nigerian penal code that addresses fraud schemes. These are often quite creative as people are discovering.
A large number of victims are enticed into believing they have been singled out from the masses (often by using your family names) to share in some multi-million dollar windfall profits. Don't fall for such frauds either. Read this online public awareness advisory: NIGERIAN SCAM