The Oil Spill and "Phishing"

There is a growing type of scam being readily used by fraudsters to capture your personal data/information and then put it to use. The email scams themselves vary greatly, but the structure generally stays the same. You are sent an email stating that you need to furnish your contact info for the creation of a new account, to verify with your "bank" that you are the owner of the account, or the more recent ones- to stop your gaming account from being "stolen" or "terminated". The sending out of these emails in hopes of someone believing it and supplying the personal info is called "phishing". Once they have the information, which often will include birthdays, SSN, and mother's maiden name, the scammer will either act as a middle man by selling it to other fraudsters or use it themselves in the act of identity theft.

Performing an email address search will let you see who is really asking for your info. Don't trust them because a web address with the company's name or logo is included in the email. Once you know who and where the email came from, you can file a complaint with the FCC.

The most recent email phishing scam states that those who replied back to the email address listed with their personal information would be the recipient of $500,000 in grant funding from BP, to help with the Gulf oil spill. A Florida consumer recently reported this scam to the Attorney General's Office. More information on the Deepwater Horizon disaster can be found online here.