How to keep your identity

DAYTON, Ohio—LexisNexis® released its Top 10 “Phishing” Prevention Tips today to help consumers avoid the fastest-growing online identity theft scam.

Phishing is a relatively new scam where fraudsters pose as a company with which a consumer has a preexisting relationship – like a bank, online auction site, or Internet Service Provider – and send an e-mail requesting billing or financial information to avoid “termination” of the user’s account. The e-mail will often direct the recipient to a Web site that looks nearly identical to the actual company’s Web site, where the victim will be asked to enter social security numbers, financial information or passwords. Phishers use this information to make fraudulent purchases, obtain credit or open other accounts in the victim’s name.

“Phishing is a burgeoning menace to consumers and the fastest-growing form of identity theft,” said Jim Vaules, a fraud consultant with LexisNexis. “Fortunately, as with all forms of fraud, awareness is the best protection, so LexisNexis has released its Top 10 Phishing Prevention Tips to help consumers protect their personal information and stay safe online.”

In the month of May alone, 1,197 phishing incidents were reported, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, an industry coalition working to combat fraud. Last July, the FBI called phishing “the hottest and most troubling new scam on the Internet today.”

LexisNexis’ Top 10 Phishing Prevention Tips

1. Learn to recognize fraudulent phishing e-mails. Beware of an unexpected message requiring some urgent action to avoid “imminent problems” with your account. Phishing e-mails are almost always not personalized, while legitimate messages from your credit card company or bank and real e-commerce Web sites usually will be. Phishers will ask for your account number, social security number, user name or password and any other sensitive information they can exploit.

2. Never submit sensitive information via e-mail. E-mails are not a secure form of communication and are easily forged or compromised.

3. Use caution when transmitting your personal information. If you need to update or verify personal financial information ensure the Web site is secure. You can identify a secure site by the site’s address, which should begin with “https://” instead of just “http://” and by the lock icon displayed on the status bar of your browser.

4. Don’t click on links in e-mails from unknown senders. Instead type in an address you know to be authentic or call a company phone number that you have called before.

5. Download and install any new security updates for your browser. This will help prevent potential hackers from gaining access to your information by exploiting known security issues.

6. Do not leave your accounts unexamined for long periods of time. Regularly log into bank and credit card accounts and review statements to verify that no one is making unauthorized changes or purchases.

7. Report all suspicious activity or transactions on your accounts to your bank and credit card companies.

8. Take immediate steps if you suspect you are a victim of phishing. Close all accounts that you believe have been tampered with or fraudulently opened.

9. Contact any of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file if you fall victim to a phishing scam or other identity theft.

10. Forward the complete fraudulent email with header intact to the company that is being spoofed. Also alert the Federal Trade Commission by sending the email to and report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Fraud Complaint Center at

About LexisNexis

In the U.S., LexisNexis ( offers an extensive range of products and customized tools that address job-specific and organization-wide information needs, driving productivity and confident decision-making. For 30 years, LexisNexis, an information solution provider, has been a pioneer in secure data sharing, information policy, and personal privacy. Through its risk management flagship products, RiskWise®, PeopleWise® and Banko, LexisNexis helps to locate people and assets, authenticate identity, enable commerce, conduct background screening, and support national security initiatives. Customers include almost every Federal Government agency, the top 100 law firms, and Fortune 500 companies in the fields of national security, financial services, collection and recovery, insurance, telecommunications, e-commerce and retail. For more information, contact

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