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Phishing – A New Internet Scam

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced that internet scammers looking for your financial information have a new way of trying to deceive you – they go “phishing.” Phishing is a high-tech scam that uses e-mail to try to get you to disclose your credit card number, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, and other sensitive personal information.

These scammers send you an e-mail that claims to be from regulations.gov, a web site where consumers can participate in government actions by submitting comments. The subject line of the e-mail may read, “Official Information” or “Urgent Information to All Credit Card Holders.” The text will go on to say something like, “Due to recent changes in Rules and Regulations, it is required by law for internet users to identify themselves in compliance with CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) to create a secure and safer internet community.” The e-mail will include a link to a web site that looks like regulations.gov and asks you to provide your personal and financial information – DON’T DO IT!!

THERE IS NO SUCH LAW, AND regulations.gov DOES NOT COLLECT FINANCIAL INFORMATION OR CHARGE YOU A FEE FOR SUBMITTING COMMENTS. PROVIDING YOUR FINANCIAL INFORMATION IN RESPONSE TO ANY UNSOLICITED E-MAIL OR PHONE CALL PUTS YOU AT RISK FOR TODAY’S FASTEST-GROWING CRIME – IDENTITY THEFT.

Should you get a suspicious e-mail that claims to be from the federal government, do not respond. Instead, fight back and forward the message to the FTC at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it so it will be available to law enforcement.

If you believe you may be a victim of identify theft, you should visit the FTC’s web site at www.consumer.gov/idtheft to file a report. This site will also tell you about how to minimize your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft.

Regulations.gov is operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in association with the Food and Drug Administration, the National Archives and Records Administration/Office of the Federal Register and the Government Printing Office. These agencies use regulations.gov to receive comments from the public regarding proposed rules and regulations.

The FTC works for you to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair practices and to provide information to stop or avoid such practices. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call their toll-free number, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).