Spear phishing is now apparently the concern for Sony Online Entertainment users, following a data breach that has affected some 77 million users.
Users of games like EverQuest, which is found on the network, could face the exposure of their credit card numbers, despite the fact that Sony said its credit card data is encrypted.
The New York Times has reported that researchers have already spotted credit card numbers associated with the breach listed for sale on the Black Market.
Phishing is a common identity theft scam, which involves criminals sending out e-mails or letters, or even telephoning a potential victim, claiming to be a legitimate source, seeking personal information. It is common for these scammers to claim that “verification” of the victim’s personal information is needed, in the hopes that the victim will just hand over things like credit card or Social Security card numbers.
If you receive such a request, according to Sony, ignore it. Sony officials said the company never sends out e-mails or letters requesting such information, nor does it call customers.
The incident is being investigated by the FBI. Should you be affected by this breach, check your bank and credit card statements carefully, and review your credit report, looking for unauthorized charges.
Be sure you also change your passwords, and if you do receive an e-mail that appears to be from Sony, don’t click on any links it may contain. The links could contain malware, which criminals can use to steal your private information.