Some con artists tell consumers the federal insurance on their savings accounts will be canceled unless they update their personal data.
Others claim to be from Internet service providers redoing their billing lists.
But they're not."It's the perfect crime from the fraudster's perspective," said Naftali Bennett, chief executive of Cyota Inc., a New York-based anti-fraud firm.
"It's easy to do, you get thousands of records and the risk of getting caught is very low." A study released earlier this year by the research firm Gartner Inc.
He says consumers need to feel secure in using the Internet — without feeling like their identity will be stolen.
Ever received an e-mail from a legitimate-looking company, asking for personal information?
If so, you may have been the target of a "phishing" scam — in which con artists use the name, logo or Web site of a reputable business to commit fraud.
The Federal Trade Commission and other organizations are grouping together to fight what they call one of the fastest-growing types of Internet fraud.
The FTC, Better Business Bureaus, Visa and others are asking consumers to report suspicious-looking emails and not reply without checking their validity.