Cyber crooks hide behind company logos in emails

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Cyber crooks are banking on consumers not being able to tell the difference between and email from a legitimate company versus an email designed to steal information and money.

A three month study by Panda Security found that 57,000 "phishing" websites are created each week.  More than 75% of the sites are designed to trick people into handing over their personal information via email.

The study found hundreds of big-name company brands were being sued for fraud including eBay, Visa, Amazon, PayPal, the Internal Revenue Service and Bank of America.

The computer thieves are sending emails to unsuspecting people with a company logo attached, usually from a popular bank or online retail business, giving it the appearance that the message is legit. There is often a line telling the user their account could be suspended and entices them to click a link to update their information. Only the link directs a person to a fake site  where they are asked to provide information like login usernames and passwords and other personal information.

Some of the emails can be easily spotted at "phishing" attacks. The messages include poor spelling and grammar and often does not identify the account holder by name.

Experts suggest people never give out personal information via e-mail. Rather, they suggest people log onto the company website to find a phone number and call the company directly.