Attorney General: Phishing
CT Attorney General
Attorney General: Phishing
Identity Theft

Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Online Scams: “Phishing”

"Phishing" is the fraudulent attempt by con-artists to obtain personally identifiable information from the public at large by sending millions of e-mails randomly to anyone with an e-mail address. These e-mails appear to be from a company or government agency, and are designed to look authentic, right down to the company or government logo. The messages warn about a supposed error in an account, a new law, or some other concocted excuse in an effort to get the recipient to provide private personal informationsuch as social security numbers, bank account numbers, dates of birth, even passwords to websites or ATMs. Often, the email message will contain a link to a website, supposedly of the government agency or company the e-mail purportedly comes from, that often appears almost identical to the authentic sitessometimes even the experts have a hard time telling them apart.

"Never give out personal information in response to an e-mail," Blumenthal warned. "Authentic companies, banks and government agencies will never ask for personal information in an e-mail."

Companies which have had fake e-mails sent in their name include some of the biggest: eBay, PayPal, Bank of America, Washington Mutual, SunBank, among others. Even government agencies such as the FBI and FDIC have been spoofed. (For examples of current and past phishing attempts, click:

Citizens should not respond to these e-mails. In fact, links sent in an e-mail should never be followed, no matter how authentic they appear. If you wish to check with the company or government agency referenced in the e-mail to see if it is legitimate, enter the correct address in the URL bar rather than clicking on the link. If necessary, use a recognized search engine to find the correct address.

"The most important and effective method to fight these scams is by public awareness and vigilance. Informed and cautious internet users are the best defense against these scam artists. Given the recent security breeches at Choicepoint and Bank of America, as well as the exponential growth of online scams, consumers need to remain extra vigilant," cautioned Blumenthal.

Blumenthal recommends that consumers periodically review their credit reports to see if any suspicious activity is contained there. Recent changes in the law will allow consumers in Connecticut to receive a free credit report each year beginning September, 2005. However, if you have been a victim of fraud, you can obtain a credit report without charge immediately.

The three principal credit agencies and their contact information are:

  • Equifax
    P.O. Box 105873
    Atlanta, GA 30348-5873
    Telephone: 1-800-997-2493

  • Experian Information Solutions
    (formerly TRW)
    P.O. Box 949
    Allen, TX 75013-0949
    Telephone: 1-888-397-3742

  • TransUnion
    P.O.Box 390
    Springfield, PA 19064-0390
    Telephone: 1-800-916-8800

If you believe you may have submitted information in response to any phishing attempt, you should place a fraud alert on your credit report, contact any financial institutions for which you provided information, and be extra wary of mail and phone solicitations. Further information on identity theft can be found on our website in the Hot Topics section under "Identity Theft," and at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) An additional source of information on this topic is the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC), which works in conjunction with the FBI.

Content Last Modified on 9/6/2012 3:27:48 PM