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FBI issues warning on fake e-mail messages

By Alex Morones
Technical Writer and Editor, Office of Information Technology

(Dec. 1, 2005)--The FBI says a new series of fake e-mail messages is being circulated that you should not open.

The messages, which appear to come from the FBI or CIA, state that the e-mail recipient has visited "illegal sites." The receiver is asked to open the attachment to answer a few questions.

Opening the attachment will launch a computer virus on your PC. Although UTSA-owned personal computers regularly scan for viruses, you should never open a suspicious attachment.

In another recent e-mail message, the reader is asked to verify an unauthorized charge to a PayPal account. In this scam, you are asked to click on a link to "dispute" the charge.

This is another example of a "phishing" attack -- an e-mail message that attempts to trick you into divulging personal and financial information. Be wary of any e-mail message that asks you to click on a link to verify information.

Legitimate businesses will never ask for personal information via e-mail. If you are unsure about an e-mail message you have received, call the company or go directly to their Web site by typing in its address in your browser.

Read more about "visited illegal sites" e-mails at the FBI Web site.

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