There's something phishy going on with some AOL email accounts.
According to USA Today, thousands of people took to Twitter to complain about getting spam from AOL accounts. It looks like this is a case of "spoofing."
Ruth to the rescue checked with the local Better Business Bureau who offered this definition. "Spoofing is when a spammer sends out emails using your email address in the From: field. The idea is to make it seem like the message is from you - in order to trick people into opening it."
If you have been spoofed you will probably see mailer-daemon error messages in your inbox that don't match any messages that you've sent. Or, you might receive emails from confused friends, wondering what you've been sending them.
Spoofing is different from hacking. The Better Business Bureau says you should check your SENT box to see if you're being spoofed or if you've been hacked.
If you see emails in your SENT box that you did not send, you've been hacked. If you don't see any strange emails then you've been spoofed.
Spammers use spoofing to trick your friends and family into opening the email, and tempt them to click on a link. NEVER click on links that seem suspicious. They likely contain malware, viruses, or phishing attacks.
The Better Business Bureau says you cannot really stop the person spoofing your account, but changing your password every so often can help secure your account from being compromised in the future.
AOL says its immediately changing its policy to help mail providers reject email messages that are sent using forged AOL Mail addresses. It says the spoofing emails do not originate from AOL, or its customers. The changes could make it more difficult for some legitimate email to make it through the system.
AOL says, "We regret that legitimate senders of email to you may be temporarily impacted by this change, and those affected will need to update how they send email messages to you. We've detailed steps of how they can comply with our new policy here.
And further, "AOL takes the safety and security of consumers very seriously, and we are actively addressing consumer complaints. We are working to resolve the issue of account spoofing to keep users and their respective accounts running smoothly and securely. Users can find the latest updates on our AOL Help site, and should contact us if they believe their account is being spoofed. "