Saturday, December 5, 2009

ID thieves preying on holiday shoppers

Bill Nash thought he got the deal of the century last Christmas when he used his credit card to buy a popular video game system online for less than its retail price.

A few weeks later, the Spartanburg resident's excitement turned into terror when he received his statement in the mail and found it contained hundreds of dollars in charges from purchases he didn't make.

Nash soon realized that he was a victim of what experts call phishing, a scam in which criminals set up realistic, but bogus e-mails or Web sites to trick shoppers into revealing confidential financial information that is used to steal their identity.

"I felt violated," Nash said. "It's the worst feeling in the world to know that your personal finances are at the mercy of someone else. I was able to get the charges reversed, but it wasn't a painless process. I never want to go through something like that again."

The holiday shopping season is just as big a business opportunity for identity thieves as it is for retailers.
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