The reading level for this article is Novice

Let’s assume your banks Web address is and you get an email that states, “We are updating or files. Go to our secure Web form and sign up for a free account. It only takes a few seconds and it is free.” 

You go to the secure form at, and you find five fields to fill in:

  Full Name:
  Bank Account Number:
  Requested User ID:
  Requested Password:

  Bank Routing Number from Check:
  Zip Code:

Imagine the number of ways this fairly basic information might be used?! Even beyond knowing your account numbers you also gave up the very likely username and password that you use for everything! In addition, you have established a link since you have seen this bogus Web address and trusted it. You’re now officially a target for another round of information. A savvy phisher will now throw out the big bait by attempting to secure more information, maybe an offer for a free bill pay service to collect more of your contact information, credit card companies, numbers, etc.

Remember, up to this point the phisher has not used and abused any of your contact information. As long as you continue to give up valuable data, they will not likely burn that bridge. Of course, there is a limited time to strike, since they will not wish to give you enough time to figure it out. By the time it becoomes obvious it is too late. These new millennium scam artists strike fast and move on. This makes them almost impossible to catch and can lead to an identity problem that could take a lifetime to overcome.

Just remember the old AOL response when this scam first appeared in the AOL network. They will never contact you to ask for this personal information. AND, never give up any personal data to people who initiate contact with you first, whether it is via email, the phone, or whatever.

This Email Marketing article was written by Rob Thrasher on 5/16/2006

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