E-mail Fraud And Phishing Attacks On The RiseAnalysis of unique phishing attacks showed a significant increase in February over January, according to Tumbleweed Communi-cations Corp., a Redwood City, Calif.-based Internet messaging security firm, and the Anti-Phishing Working Group. Tumbleweed and the working group released the "Phishing Attack Trends Report" for February 2004, an analysis of phishing scam attacks submitted to www.antiphishing.org, an archive of e-mail fraud and phishing attacks. The analysis identifies that e-mail fraud and phishing attacks grew by more than 60% in February as compared to January, with an average of 9.7 new, unique attacks sent out to millions of consumers each day.

Phishing attacks involve the mass distribution of "spoofed" e-mail messages with return addresses, links and branding that appear to come from banks, insurance agencies, retailers or credit card companies. These fraudulent messages are designed to fool the recipients into divulging personal data such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers and passwords and social security numbers. Because these e-mails look "official," between one percent and five percent of recipients may respond to them, resulting in financial losses, identity theft and other fraudulent activity.

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