PARIS – Police Sgt. Mike Dailey wasn’t fooled recently when he got an e-mail purporting to be from Citibank.

The e-mail said he might be a victim of identity theft, and it included a link to a Web site where he could update his personal banking information.

“They wanted the checking account number, the routing number,” he said, “basically things you would not want to give to people” without being very sure the information was protected, he said.

Turns out, it was a scam, and Dailey wants the public to know there are some very sophisticated scammers out there.

What makes the hoax e-mail hard to spot is that it uses the names, logos, graphics and even the code of the real company’s Web site.

But the tip-off is that the scam e-mails always come with a link to a fraudulent site, using a Web address that appears legitimate to the casual observer.

“I don’t know of anybody that’s been victimized by it yet, but it looks like a very legitimate Web site,” Dailey said.

The only way computer users can make sure they are looking at a legitimate site is to type in the business’s name, such as www.citibank.com, to see if it goes to the same place.


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