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Phishers Sinking to New Lows

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Don't get me started on spam. But the other day, scanning the dregs of my spam filter, there was this one that stood out from the hundreds of unsolicited commercial e-mails that pitch porn, get-rich-quick schemes, cheap pharmaceuticals, urgent business proposals and sure-thing investments. All no-brainer deletes. Click, click, click.

But this one stopped me cold. It raised images of stressed-out and distraught military families stunned by the message that their bank accounts had been breached (all the more troubling after last week's news that someone had indeed hacked an Air Force nonfinancial database containing 33,000 Social Security numbers). Recipients could follow the message's instructions, click on a link to a Web site, and divulge their passwords and confidential information.

Only, that urgent notice isn't from their bank. It's from a crook.

You probably knew that already. Those daily spams, supposedly from eBay, AOL or PayPal? Saying your account has been corrupted? If you don't have eBay, AOL or PayPal accounts, they're easy rip-offs to recognize. Click, click, click. Gone.

But if your thoughts are halfway around the world, in a war zone where every day is a life-or-death matter for a loved one, and your bank is the Armed Forces Bank, then just maybe you get fooled this one time. Just takes once. Low-life scammers count on it -- all the way to the bank.

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