June 25, 2003, 12:00 AM

The power of a brand name in an e-mail credit card scam

Consumers have received fraudulent e-mails purporting to be from Best Buy encouraging them to visit a web site and enter credit card and Social Security numbers to correct a supposed purchase problem.

Retailers and marketers have found e-mail an effective way to induce customers to take action. Criminals now have discovered the power of e-mail--especially when they can use a legitimate return address. An unknown number of consumers received fraudulent e-mails purporting to be from Best Buy expressing concern about a problem with a credit card purchase. The Federal Trade Commission reports. The e-mail encouraged recipients to visit a certain web site and enter their credit card numbers and Social Security numbers to correct the problem.

The FTC says thousands of consumers received the message, with the subject line “Fraud Alert,” last week. Best Buy says it did not send the message and that is working with law enforcement authorities to find who did send it. Best Buy also reports that none of its systems have been compromised, and its online business is secure.


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