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E-Mail Scam Targets White House Workers

Online scam artists are getting bolder with each passing day. A new e-mail scam is making its rounds online, trying to trick White House employees into handing over their personal and financial data at a fake banking Web site.

The scam, which falls into a type of Internet crime called "phishing," targets White House employees who bank online with The White House Federal Credit Union, according to an alert published Monday by Websense Security Labs. The White House Federal Credit Union also is used by many lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

According to the alert, people who receive the e-mail are told that their account information must be updated within 48 hours or it will be suspended -- a typical phishing lure. The fake site, which was apparently copied from a section of the credit union's site that serves White House employees banking from home, asks visitors to enter their credit union login/password, ATM card information and Social Security number. The real credit union site has a warning about the scam posted prominently on its home page: "We DO NOT need an update of your account number or password. That information is already in our system. NEVER give out this personal information."

Websense says the bogus site is hosted somewhere in Argentina, and appears to be active at the moment. That's no real surprise; according to a report on phishing released earlier this month by the Anti-Phishing Working Group , the average lifespan of a phishing site is still more than 5 days.

These scam artists certainly have a lot of nerve, but it's not the first time the scumbag phishers have impersonated or targeted an government institution or an entity affiliated with one. Phishers have pretended to be the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, and even the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

As always, be very wary of any e-mail requesting your personal information. If you have any doubts, pick up the phone and call the customer service number to get confirmation.

By Brian Krebs  |  May 10, 2005; 10:01 AM ET
Categories:  Latest Warnings  
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