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Better Business Bureau: Data breach means more phishing scams

April 9, 2011 at midnight
Updated April 8, 2011 at 11:09 p.m.


By Alan BlighBBB has already heard from hundreds of consumers nationwide who may be victims of phishing attempts, due to the massive data breach of thousands of names and email addresses from Dallas-based Epsilon.

The company, a third-party marketing service used by high-profile businesses to distribute emails to customers, confirmed the data breach and explained that the information stolen was limited to names and email addresses.

Those high profile businesses include: hotels, banking institutions and retail giants including Best Buy, Citi, Chase, U.S. Bank, Capitol One, Walgreen's, Kroger, Marriott International, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Brookstone, New York and Co., TiVo, HSN and L.L. Bean.

Given that the hackers now have access to customer email addresses, there is an extremely high risk for phishing attacks, where hackers may pose as official companies in an attempt to fraudulently obtain consumers' personal or financial information. BBB warns all consumers that it is more important than ever to use extreme caution when viewing emails.

PET SCAMS

Just when you think scammers can't sink any lower, you hear about pet scams. That's right, scammers are now putting advertisements with photos of cute, usually purebred, puppies on online selling websites, like eBay, CraigsList and in classified ads in newspapers.

The ads claim there are puppies that are free to good homes. One scam claimed the puppies were "stranded" in West Africa or Nigeria.

Once a potential victim contacts the scammer, he finds out that the scammer wants him to pay the "shipping fees" and often other fees, such as customs duties, shots, adoption fees, insurance and vaccinations. And if the victim sends money, more fees will be requested.

But the puppies, of course, never arrive. There never were any puppies, it's just another sad scam.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by e-mail at abligh@corpus christi.bbb.org.

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