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Smart Talk March 24 

Gone phishing If you have an e-mail address, chances are you’ve received an e-mail that claims to be from a bank or credit card company, with realistic looking logos and headers. Often, the e-mail will claim your account information has been stolen and will then encourage you to visit an attached website address, where you will be prompted to enter secret passwords and financial information. Don’t. In the language of the Internet, it’s called “phishing.” The electronic equivalent of the Trojan Horse — often employing authentic-looking e-mails and incredibly detailed websites that purport to be those of well-known companies — it’s a way for criminals to trick you into entering passwords, PIN numbers and other private information in order to clean out your bank account. Though hundreds of banks across the country have seen their logos used in the scam, Regions Bank has been used in the scam in Arkansas recently. Angele Forrest, regional marketing officer with Regions Bank, said phishing is a problem for all banks. While she wouldn’t say how many Arkansas customers had been taken in by the scam e-mails featuring the Regions name and logo, she did say that the bank has a dedicated fraud team helping to combat the practice in the state (you can reach them via e-mail at phishing@regions.com). Forrest said the bank would never request a patron to fill in sensitive information at a website. “We just don’t ask for that in an e-mail,” Forrest said. She recommends that if you think you’ve received a fraudulent e-mail that purports to be from Regions Bank, visit their (real, we promise) website — www.regions.com — and click on the “consumer alert” button. Neighborhood spat The Hillcrest Residents Association held its annual meeting last week and Tony Woodell, the group president, predicted the dominant issue for the coming year — constructing an “overlay” planning district for the historic neighborhood. This would include guidance on future development on such matters as density, size of replacement structures and the like. A previous effort to have a local ordinance historic district in the neighborhood failed and left many angry neighbors. While an overlay district would be less restrictive, the debate promises to be spirited. One other note of potential controversy: To the happiness of the crowd of about 50, Woodell said the city could afford to put in only one new traffic signal with new bond money and a signal that some want at Cedar and Kavanaugh was ranked third in priority behind West Little Rock intersections. That’s good news in the neighborhood. The light would promote heavy traffic between I-630 and Riverdale, to the detriment of everything in between. Wounded in action According to data on the Poynter Institute’s website (www.poynter.org) for news people, rural states like Arkansas are bearing much of the human toll of the war in Iraq. Arkansas ranked sixth in deaths per capita in Iraq (.71 deaths per 100,000 citizens), after Vermont, North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska and South Dakota. Even more alarming in terms of what the war may mean in years to come, Arkansas came in first in the category of injured soldiers per capita. Our 172 injured soldiers figures out to 6.43 injuries per 100,000 citizens, far beyond the next challenger, Vermont, with 5.91 per 100,000.
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