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Bogus email at IBM

IBM posts a Customer Alert in response to a phony email message that asked users to disclose personal information, including credit card numbers.

    Members of IBM Internet Connection have been getting a little surprise in their email: a letter trying to trick them into giving up personal information, including their credit card numbers.

    IBM doesn't know how many people have received the spoof email, but the company didn't want to wait to see how widespread it was. So this week, officials posted a Customer Alert to members, warning them about the scam.

    The person sending the email posed as a billing manager and told users to send a reply containing "personal information such as name, phone number, credit card number, name and phone number of the bank that issued the credit card," according to the alert.

    IBM did not know if anyone responded, but if they did, the alert advises them to contact the bank that issued their credit card, said IBM spokesman Rusty Carpenter.

    Members of older services such as America Online, Prodigy, and CompuServe have been under constant attack from people seeking personal information.

    But as the Internet grows, would-be thieves apparently are expanding their horizons onto the Internet service providers, hoping to find newer Netizens who don't know any better.

    "This is the first time it's happened to us that we're aware of," Carpenter said.

    The screen ID of the emailer was terminated and IBM is investigating the incident, Carpenter said. "We're in touch with the proper authorities to pursue it."

    IBM would not disclose how many users it has on its roster.