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June, 2002

New Scam Gives Hackers Access To Your Bank Account

There's a new scam on the Internet that could give crooks access to your bank account. This one is particularly dangerous, says Gadget Guy Corey Miller, because you may think the e-mail is from a service that's linked to your credit cards and your bank account.

About 16 million Internet shoppers use programs such as PayPal to safely transfer money from their bank accounts or credit cards to pay bills or make purchases. But they might get a bogus e-mail asking them to verify their PayPal account information because of a server upgrade.

The link takes users to a Web site that only looks like PayPal. When you type in your account information, you give a hacker access to your bank account and credit cards. "Just about any service that's offered on the Web that holds confidential information, one of their terms of service is they won't ever ask you for your password," said Peyton Engel of Madison ISP Berbee. "There are ones that will remind you of your password if you've forgotten it, but that's a different matter." Keep that in mind because this scam isn't exclusive to PayPal, and it can be tricky. In fact, when you click into one of the scam e-mails and wind up at a fake site, the site usually has a fake url to make it look like the real thing.

If you ever get an e-mail asking for your password from any Web site, go to the site, look for e-mail customer service and tell them what's going on. But don't ever give your password out ... no matter how legitimate the request looks.