updated 1/13/2012 11:48:34 AM ET 2012-01-13T16:48:34

A word of advice, in case you haven't checked your Hotmail or Facebook accounts yet: Neither is going to be shut off, so ignore any "urgent" messages trying to scare you into handing over your personal information or credit card number.

The Facebook phishing scam hits users with a message claiming to be from "Facebook Security" claiming, "Your Facebook account will be turned off because some has reported you." The scam, reported by David Jacoby from the security firm Kaspersky Lab, tells would-be victims to "re-confirm your account security," entering their name, email, password, birth date and security question and answer on another, legitimate-looking Web page.

Unlike most phishing scams that would end here, this one attempts to dig even deeper. After they "confirm" their identity, victims are then told to enter their credit card number, expiration date, security code and address.

The Hotmail phishing scam doesn't pry quite as much, but by threatening to shut down your account, it could be just as effective.

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"We are upgrading our database to serve you better," the phony warning reads. "Due to the congestion in our E-mail servers there would be removal of all unused Hotmail Account. You will have to confirm if your E-mail account is still active by filling out your information below after clicking the reply button."

The phony email asks users to input their Hotmail user name, password and date of birth, which "puts vital information right into the hands of the cybercriminals," Graham Cluley from the security company Sophos wrote.

At the bottom of the phishing lure, the scammers included another threat, writing, "Incomplete details or wrong passwords forwarded will result in suspension or closure of your account for security reasons."

Neither Hotmail nor Facebook would ever send users unsolicited messages asking for passwords or credit card numbers and threatening deactivation. Ignore messages like these if they find their way into your inbox or news feed, and, in addition to using basic common sense on the Web, make sure you run strong anti-virus software on your computer, which could help you out of a jam in the event a phishing scam ever fools you.

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved


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