QUOTE(Moneygram @ May 8 2005, 10:22 PM)
There are many posts in this forum with referrals to open high-yield savings accounts, for example. My question is: How to distinguish between a genuine referral e-mail and phishing for personal information with fraudulent emails?
Very good question.
Almost all referral programs I am aware of do not require disclosing personal information other than first and last names, and your email address. To be on a safe side, you can open a free email account just to receive a referral and then close it. What kind of fraudulent activity a criminal can do if the only information he/she has is your name and an email address? I do not think much can be done using this information although I am not really an expert here.
If a referring person is asking about your home address, phone number and SSN, ignore this person or... may be...even better send his email address and name to a place like Anti-Phishing Working Group (http://www.antiphishing.org/) or FBI.
In general, it is a responsibility of a referred person to contact a bank of his interest and verify what kind of personal information a referring person really needs in order to send a referral.
Also, if a person promises you extra bonuses for referral programs other than ING Direct, be careful. Most other referral programs do not reveal identity of people who opened accounts via your referral links. So there is no way to determine whom you should send an extra bonus.
I have banned IP address of one person who was trying to collect unnecessary personal information from iBankDesign members and promised "extra bonuses". But I have only so much spare time per day to monitor the board. So if you see suspicious activity on the board, please let me know.