Don’t get lured into a phishing scam – read our 6 tips

November 2nd, 2011 Angie Brown

The American Bankers Association (ABA) has issued a new warning to highlight increases in phishing scams linked to consumer bank accounts. According to reports, perpetrators are using automated dialers, text messages or emails to misinform consumers that their accounts have been closed due to fraud. Consumers are then prompted to enter their card information, including expiration date and three-digit CV code on the back of the card, in order to reactivate their accounts. Those who respond to these inquires run the potential risk of having their information used to fraudulently purchase goods and services or to obtain credit.

Commonly in phishing scams, con artists claiming to be from a reputable company send out fake emails and other messages in hopes that consumers will respond with bank account information, credit card numbers, passwords or other sensitive information. These emails can look quite convincing, with company logos and banners copied from actual websites. They will often tell you that their security procedure has changed or that they need to update or validate your information, and then direct you to a look-alike website.

To avoid becoming a victim of a phishing scam, the ABA offers these six tips:

  1. Never give out your personal financial information in response to an unsolicited phone call, fax or email, no matter how official it may seem.
  2. Do not respond to an email that may warn of dire consequences unless you validate your information immediately. Contact the company to confirm the email’s validity using a telephone number or web address you know to be genuine.
  3. Check your credit card and bank account statements regularly and look for unauthorized transactions, even small ones. Some thieves hope small transactions will go unnoticed. Report discrepancies immediately.
  4. When submitting financial information online, look for the padlock or key icon at the bottom of your Internet browser. Also, many secure Internet addresses, though not all, use “https” to signify that your information is secure during transmission.
  5. Report suspicious activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov/.
  6. If you have responded to an email, contact your bank immediately so they can protect your account and your identity.
Angie Brown

About the author

Angie Brown is Retail Managing Officer for MidWestOne. She works in the retail department, specializing in checking and savings accounts, consumer loans, auto loans and home equity loans.

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