WASHINGTON, May 10, 2010 - U.S. Strategic Command officials are urging
renewed vigilance against Internet-based identity theft after detecting a widespread 'phishing' expedition against servicemembers.
Phishing is a term used to describe deceiving people into divulging personal information such as passwords or account numbers over the Internet.
Beginning as early as May 2009 and lasting as late as March 2010, numerous fraudulent e-mails were sent to financial customers of USAA and Navy Federal Credit Union, Stratcom officials said in a recent news release.
The e-mails, which appear to originate from USAA and the credit union, ask the recipient to provide or verify personal information such as name and rank, account numbers, date of birth, mother's maiden name, address and phone numbers, online account user name and password, credit card numbers, personal identification numbers for automated tellers, and Social Security numbers.
Stratcom officials offered these suggestions to keep your personal information safe:
-- Always protect your personal identification and be cautious whom you provide it to, especially by phone or Internet;
-- Be suspicious of any unsolicited e-mail, pop-up, website or phone call in which you are asked to provide personal information;
-- Cross-reference information with the official sites, looking for the 'https' secure connection.
-- Do not click on any link provided in a suspicious e-mail, and take caution in opening e-mail attachments or downloading files, regardless of who sends them;
-- Keep your personal computer's anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall and other security software running and up to date;
-- Regularly review your bank statements for suspicious activity.
That throwaway phrase "lasting as late as March 2010" amused me. Perhaps the USAA and Navy Federal Credit Union have figured out a way to block all phish, but somehow I doubt it. The phishing threat is ever present, and getting more sneaky by the day.
Blog comments are open. What advice would you have given USAA and Navy Federal Credit Union employees if you were Stratcom?