H1N1 e-mails pose potential identity theft risk

Do not respond to e-mails that ask for personal information related to receiving vaccinations for H1N1 influenza.

Reports of identity-theft "phishing scam" e-mails have increased this week. According to Kim Cassel, a South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service specialist who serves as the leader of the National Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) H1N1 response team, the e-mails seek to trick people who have received vaccinations into sharing their personal information.

"The Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) has received several e-mail alerts about phishing scams related to H1N1, and they do pose a potential ID-theft risk. We want people to be aware of these scams," said Cassel. "E-mails have been sent that request additional information, and while they mention the Centers for Disease Control-sponsored State Vaccination Program, they are illegitimate."

Cassel reminded anyone who has received an H1N1 vaccination and who may have received e-mails of this nature of what to do.

"Don't click on the embedded link in a message like this, as it may pose a risk, and do not visit Web sites you do not trust," Cassel said. "Neither the CDC nor the South Dakota Department of Health will send you any message asking for more information. If you receive a message that asks for this sort of thing, delete it."

For more information H1N1 flu preparedness, and on this potential identity theft threat, visit the BeReady Brookings Web site at this link: http://www.bereadybrookings.com.

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