File this under “Its about time”. According to Symantec, there were twice as many phishing attacks during the first half of 2006 with most of them attempting to trick people into releasing bank data. Well, you will be pleased to know that Microsoft teamed up with law officials and is suing 129 phishing companies and individuals. The Middle East and Europe are hotbeds for phishing activity and that is where the investigations have centered. Some suits have been settled already but most are gearing up for a court date.
While some of the accused are not “criminal” in the truest sense of the word, they have all participated in underhanded methods of getting people to expose their sensitive information. This leads to identity theft and more and has contributed to nearly $3 billion in loss and damages just this year! Who do you think ultimately pays for that? You and I. Companies have to spend more money safeguarding the information they posses which leads to higher product prices.
Don’t be a victim – If you receive a suspicious email DO NOT OPEN IT. Your bank / financial institution / phone company / cable company / doctor’s office should not solicit sensitive information through email. If you think they have in fact sent you an email along these lines, do not click any links and do not respond to it. Call them on the phone to verify. Then proceed accordingly.
Also, make sure that your relatives and friends, who may not be “computer savvy” know these simple rules. Take a minute to educate them. Ultimately, you are helping yourself too.