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Microsoft catches a big phish
Iowa man is accused of scamming computer users with fake e-mail notices from the software company.
August 25, 2005: 7:09 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - One scammer got caught phishing in the wrong pond, according to the Los Angeles Times Thursday.

Jayson Lucas Harris, 22, was accused of scamming computer users with fake e-mail notices from Microsoft Corp. (Research) and attempting to trick recipients into entering their credit card numbers or other personal information, the report said.

Harris allegedly warned users of Microsoft's MSN Internet access service that their billing data had been lost, the paper said citing an indictment and related legal documents. The messages were addressed "Dear MSN Customer" and appeared to be from "," the paper said

A link in the e-mails took an unknown number of recipients to a fake Microsoft page, at which they were asked to reenter credit card and other information. One e-mail was sent to the mother-in-law of a Microsoft employee, who passed it on to the software company's lawyers, according to the report.

"The amount of the losses is in the tens of thousands," prosecutor Matthew Whitaker told the paper.

Fewer than a dozen people are arrested annually in the U.S. for phishing, which targets millions of Internet users weekly, Whitaker told the Times.

The company filed suit in October 2003, the case was the first of more than 100 brought by Microsoft against suspected phishers.

Harris pleaded not guilty to 75 counts of wire fraud, a trial is set for October.


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