Got a computer? Hooked up to the Internet? If we are, that means criminals are trying to get us now more than ever before. The latest scheme is called phishing and it’s making identity theft as easy as point and click.
"Phishing is a con artist's way of just sending out tons of e-mails to people asking them for information. Now what they're looking for, it's an identity theft scam. They're just looking for your personal financial information," says Dennis Horton with the Better Business Bureau.
We Americans lose billions of dollars to these scams each year. Many come disguised as legitimate e-mails.
"What people do, very trustingly is click on that box that says please provide this information. Well it may look like your financial institution, but what it is an identity unknown that now has the ability to clean out your account," says Horton.
However, while these e-mails may look real, Horton says there are several ways for us to tell the difference.
"Very often if you look at it and you read through these e-mails, there are grammatical and spelling errors. They may even be able to lift the logo off the company website but often times, it will be askew," says Horton.
Now those of us who find ourselves victimized by one of these scams must act quickly, or else risk losing everything.
"Contact your financial institution and explain what you have done. Hopefully you will fall under the loss prevention and only lose up to fifty dollars, but then again you have to get that done pretty quickly, you only have thirty days to contact your facility and let them know you have become a victim of fraud," says Horton.
Stateline residents say they are already cautious with their personal information.
If you do receive something that looks fishy, don't assume anything, ask questions and go ahead and contact the company which may, or may not have sent it.