Everyone uses email which is why emails from identity thieves posing as your email provider are a constant threat. Below is a copy of an email that I recently received from an identity thief. DO NOT CLICK ON ANY OF THE LINKS. This phony email follows a familiar pattern. It indicates that there is an emergency that requires my immediate action. The emergency may relate to an unpaid bill or a security problem or as indicated in the phony email below, a termination that I did not request. The identity thief counts on the victim to react emotionally and immediately click on the links provided. If you do click on the links one of two things can occur and both of them are bad. The first is that you are asked for information such as your email address, credit card number or other personal information that is then used to make you a victim of identity theft. This is called “phishing” when you are lured to a phony website that gathers information from you. The second thing that can happen is even more insidious. By clicking on the link, you may unwittingly download a keystroke logging malware program that will steal all of the information from your computer including your Social Security number, password, credit card numbers and banking information. The identity thief will then use this information to make you a victim of identity theft.
Here is a copy of the phony email I received.
Dear AOL Customer,
You submitted a request to terminate your AOL Mail Account and the process has started by our AOL Mail Team, Please give us 3 working days to close your AOL Mail Account.
To cancel the termination request click http://cancel.mail.aol.com/neo/cancel?
All folders contains on your AOL Mail Account including (Inbox, Sent, Spam, Trash, Draft, Folders) will be deleted and access to your AOL Mail Account will be Denied.
If you wish to terminate your present AOL Mail Account, you can Sign Up for a new AOL Mail Account by clicking. http://edit.aol.com/registration?
For further help please contact support
AOL Mail Account Services
Please do not reply to this message. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered”
When AOL communicates with its customers about their accounts, they do so by AOL Certified Mail, which will appear as a blue envelope in your inbox and will have an official AOL Mail seal on the border of the email. This particular email had neither and didn’t even have an AOL logo appear on the email. Whenever you get an email, you cannot be sure of from whom it really comes. Never click on a link unless you are absolutely sure that it is legitimate. The better course of action is to contact the real organization that the email purports to be from at an address or phone number that you know is accurate in order to find out if the communication was legitimate or not. Additionally, it is important to always keep your Firewall and security software up to date to help protect you from the latest viruses and malware although, as I have reminded you many times, security software will only protect you about 5% of the time from the newest viruses and malware. It usually takes the security software companies about a month to catch up with security patches and updates to the latest threats so don’t depend on your security software to provide you with total protection.