Scam artists are now trying to cash in on the national paranoia over identity theft by luring victims with a phony warning that they may already be the victims of identity theft, according to the New York State Consumer Protection Board (CPB).
The latest example of this new ruse is a "phishing" email, claiming to be from Chase Bank. This phony email warns Chase customers that someone tried to access their bank account from a "foreign" Internet address.
"This bogus email instructs consumers to correct the situation by linking to a website where, in fact, they can become ID theft victims," said Teresa A. Santiago, Chairman and Executive Director of the CPB. "ID thieves are using every trick in the book to fool people into disclosing passwords, bank account numbers and other personal information."
Any Chase customer who has responded to this or similar emails should send an email to Chase's fraud investigators at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chase is also warning consumers about this and similar email scams, saying the bank does not send threatening emails or messages asking for personal information.
Santiago said consumers should ignore emails claiming to be a warning or security alert about a bank account, EBay account or any other account. Legitimate companies do not send these kinds of warnings via email, the Chairperson said.
"Identity Theft has become a multi-billion-dollar business. Consumers shouldn't contribute to the problem by blindly handing over personal financial information to scam artists. Consumers can't prevent all forms of Identity Theft, but they can protect themselves from 'phishing' scams like this one. Hit the 'delete' button," said Santiago.
Here is the text of a typical phony email:
Dear Chase & Co. Member
For the User Agreement, Section 9, we may immediately issue a warning, temporarily suspend, indefinitely suspend or terminate your membership and refuse to provide our services to you if we believe that your actions may cause financial loss or legal liability for you, our users or us.
Our terms and conditions you agreed to state that your service must always be under your control or those you designate all times. We have noticed some unusual activity related to your service that indicates that other parties may have access and or control of your informations in your service.
We recently noticed one or more attempts to log in to your Chase Account, service from a foreign IP adress. If you recently accessed your service while traveling, the unusual log in attempts may have been initiated by you. However, if you did not initiate the logins, please visit Chase homepage as soon as possible to restore your account status.
The login attempt was made from:
ISP host : c-64-154-34-134.hsfgd1.il.comcast.net
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and appreciate your assistance in helping us maintain the integrity of the entire system. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Please do not reply to this e-mail. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered.
To restore your account status click the link below: