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Collateral Damage From Phishing Scams

Boot Camp feature for Monday, August 14, 2006

Collateral damage from phishing scams. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. In its annual State of the Net survey…in the September issue… Consumer Reports projects that U.S. consumers have lost more than eight billion dollars to online threats in the last two years. Those threats include viruses, spyware and phishing schemes. And its costing consumers who fall for those phishing schemes more money. Technology editor Jeff Fox…

"What we found was consumers are still losing billions of dollars a year to all these things. In the case of the email scams, the median cost per person went up five fold from the previous year and is now 850 dollars a person."

Fox says it is easy to fall victim to the email scams…

"They look exactly like they came from PayPal or a bank or a credit card company. They're very persuasive. They say they are doing a security check. You click on a link. It takes you to a Web site that looks exactly like the real Web site. They ask you for things like your password or your ID number. And they're getting more and more clever. I think the latest wrinkle is some of them are trying to send out things that look like they came from the IRS or government agencies."

The problem is so bad…that Fox says…that it is nearly impossible for banks to use email for legitimate correspondence with customers…

"I think unfortunately that's a kind of collateral damage here. I just got an email in the last few days from a real institution. I really do business with them. But I wouldn't click on it.

Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.