Email Spam is Rapidly Becoming the ‘Tool of Choice’ For Internet Fraud and Identity Theft

McAfee.com Provides 30-day Free Trial to SpamKiller Plus Web Resources & Tips To Help Protect Consumers From Spam-based Attacks

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Sept. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — McAfee.com (Nasdaq: MCAF), a leading provider of Web security services, today is informing computer users that Internet criminals are increasingly using unsolicited commercial email, known as “spam,” to commit Internet fraud and identity theft. According to law enforcement officials, Federal agencies and the security experts at McAfee.com, email spam has become a potent weapon for targeting unsuspecting consumers and stealing their money and identities. The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) calls identity theft “one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation.”

In response to this growing threat, McAfee.com has launched a new resource Web site, located at http://idtheft.mcafee.com , to inform and educate consumers about the dangers of Internet fraud and identity theft and what they can do to protect themselves. In addition, the company recently announced that its SpamKiller anti-spam service now works with MSN Hotmail Web-based accounts as well as POP3 and MAPI email accounts. McAfee.com is offering consumers the ability to download a free 30-day trial to McAfee.com SpamKiller through the company’s McAfee.com SecurityCenter at http://www.mcafee.com .

Damage Done
Consumers lost $17.8 million dollars due to online fraud last year, says the Internet Fraud Complaint Center, which tracks online-based consumer fraud statistics. An estimated 500,000 to 700,000 Americans fall victim to identity theft each year. The IFCC says that 70 percent of Internet fraud complainants had email contact with the perpetrators.

“The new trend in spam is its use to enhance fraudulent schemes and victimize unsuspecting users,” said Jimmy Doyle, recently retired detective sergeant of the New York City Police Department’s Computer Crime Unit and an expert in online-based fraud and identity theft. “Once a person has fallen victim to identity theft, he or she begins a nightmare odyssey of cleaning credit history, filing police reports and dealing with creditors.”

“The low cost and ubiquity of email usage has made spam the tool of choice among Internet fraudsters and identity thieves,” said Srivats Sampath, CEO of McAfee.com. “Users must learn how to recognize and protect themselves from fraud and identity theft threats through a combination of education and technology.”

One such technology is McAfee.com SpamKiller, a managed service that helps PC users monitor, filter, and quarantine unsolicited messages from entering their email inboxes. SpamKiller helps stop spam email, tracks the mail back to the source ISP and sends complaints to the spammer’s service provider, while automatically returning a false “bounced” email message to the spammer. Based on highly-acclaimed technology, SpamKiller gives consumers and small/medium businesses a powerful and cost-effective desktop solution to solve this fast-growing Internet threat.

McAfee.com SpamKiller connects directly to a user’s POP3, MAPI-compatible or MSN Hotmail account and scans all incoming messages for addresses of known spammers. SpamKiller then employs advanced filtering protocols that examine the subject line, body of text, message header and country code for trigger words or phrases commonly found in spam. Once detected, the spam is automatically removed from the user’s inbox and quarantined for future reference if necessary.

Spam Scams

Law enforcement officials and security experts at McAfee.com say that spam is often used to target unsuspecting consumers and lure them to “official looking” Webs sites — such as a billing center for an online service provider or the front page of a mortgage information form. When users enter passwords, social security numbers or credit card information, the information may be taken and used or sold by identity thieves.
“Once someone has your credit card number and your social security number, you’ve opened the door for them to go into any type of online store or financial institution impersonating you,” said the NYPD’s Doyle. “Thieves can assume your identity, run up charges against your credit cards, even get arrested — all under your name. And you may never know these things have occurred until it’s too late.”

Protection Tips
McAfee.com anti-spam experts suggest a series of guidelines that are based on the recommendations of law enforcement and regulatory agencies:

1. Never purchase Spam-advertised products! Aside from encouraging the spammers, this also makes more of your personally identifiable information — name, address, phone number, credit card numbers, and the like — available to spammers. It also can guarantee that you’ll get more spam at your email address.
2. Always protect your personal information. Only share your credit card, social security number or other personal information when making purchases from a company or financial institution that you know and trust.
3. Never send personal information to email requests. You should never be asked for a password, credit card number or social security number from a legitimate source via email. Beware official-sounding notices that require you to “give up” your personal information due to supposedly dire consequences.
4. Verify any transaction. If a Web site address looks different from the name of the organization that you’re dealing with or if you have doubts about your transaction, look for a phone number on the Web site and call the organization to verify that the Web site is valid. Don’t deal with any organization that doesn’t clearly state its name, physical address and phone number on its Web site.
5. Beware of get rich quick schemes. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
6. Never pay “up front” for loans or credit. Legitimate lenders generally do not “guarantee” a loan or credit card before you apply. 7. Refrain from clicking on Reply or Remove! Some senders may remove your address, but others may flag your email address as “live,” and send you more spam or even sell the address to other spammers. Instead, forward spam to the Federal Trade Commission at uce@ftc.gov.
8. Use a “public” email address when online. Set up and use a “public” email address — either an additional address from your ISP or a free email address. Use this email address when participating in newsgroups, joining contests or anytime that your email is requested by a third party online. Potential spam will go to your “public” email address instead of your “private” email address.
9. Don’t post your email address online. You’d be surprised how often you use your email address online for newsletter subscriptions, to join online groups or in chat rooms. Before you post your email address, know whether it will be displayed or used. Then use a “public” email address when necessary.
10. Use an email filter to help eliminate unwanted email. Use an email filtering product, such as McAfee.com SpamKiller, to help filter out unwanted email. SpamKiller treats spam like a virus, recognizing unique spam content and removing spam from consumers’ email boxes before they read their email.

About McAfee.com
McAfee.com Corporation is a world-leading provider of managed Web security, optimization and maintenance services. Using a patented system and process of delivering software through an Internet browser, McAfee.com has redefined how software is developed, delivered and experienced by PC users at home and at work, virtually eliminating the need to install, configure and manage the technology on a local PC or network. McAfee.com hosts software application services on its vast technology infrastructure and provides these services to users online through its Web site www.mcafee.com. McAfee.com has signed up more than two million subscriptions, making it one of the largest paid subscription sites on the Internet.

For more information, contact McAfee.com at 408-992-8100 or visit http://www.mcafee.com .

NOTE: McAfee is a registered trademark. All other registered and unregistered trademarks in this document are the sole property of their respective owners.




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