Consumer Protection Division
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Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: March 21, 2003

Attorney General Wasden Warns of Likely Identity Theft Scam

(Boise) - Attorney General Lawrence Wasden warned Idahoans about an apparent identity theft scam sent to potential victims via e–mail.

An Idaho consumer, who received a fraudulent e–mail, contacted the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit. The e–mail, which falsely claimed to be from eBay, requested personally identifying information including social security numbers, credit card account numbers, an eBay password, a bank account number and pin number, and driver's license number.

After reviewing a warning on eBay's Internet site, the Attorney General's Office concluded the e–mail is fraudulent e–mail.

The eBay warning says, in part: "Be cautious of emails that ask you to submit personal information such as your credit card number or your eBay password. Some members have reported attempts to gain access to their personal information through email solicitations that are made to appear as having come from eBay. These solicitations will often contain links to web pages that will request that you sign-in and submit information. Remember, eBay employees will never ask you for your password, including through email."

"Identity thieves frequently pose as representatives of a trusted company," Attorney General Wasden said. "A consumer should never give a credit card, social security number, or other highly personal information to anyone who contacts the consumer, whether the request comes by phone or e–mail. Rather than take a chance by responding to the e–mail, a consumer should forward the suspicious e–mail directly to the business or entity which purportedly sent it."

Wasden added that consumers who believe they may be victims of identity theft should immediately contact their local law enforcement agency, as well as the major credit reporting agencies.

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