Thieves like to “phish” for confidential information by pretending to be banks. First, they throw out the bait, get you to bite, and then hook you. Bait comes in several forms – via the phone, in e-mails, and regular mail. Here are ten tips to keep you from getting hooked.
- One very common form of phishing is via e-mail. Learn to recognize fraudulent e-mails. Beware of an unexpected message requiring urgent action to avoid “imminent problems” with your account. Phishing e-mails are almost always not personalized, while legitimate messages from your bank will be. Phishers will ask for your account number, social security number, and other sensitive information they can exploit.
- Do not give out confidential information unless you made the initial contact with the bank.
- Do not respond to a request to verify confidential information. Your bank does not request this kind of information by e-mail.
- Never send sensitive information via e-mail. E-mail is a non-secure form of communication. Contact your bank to ask about using encrypted e-mail to communicate securely.
- When transmitting personal information over the internet, use caution. First, ensure the website is secure. You can identify a secure site two ways. The site’s address should begin with “https://“ instead of “http://,“ and the lock icon should be displayed on the status bar of your browser. Clicking the lock icon displays specifics about the site.
- Do not click on links found in e-mails from unknown sources. Instead type in an address you know to be authentic or call a bank phone number published in the phone book.
- If someone asks for information, do not be afraid to ask “Why do you need it?” or to say “No.”
- Check online banking and your bank statements regularly to search for unauthorized transactions. Report all suspicious activity (including e-mails you suspect are phishing related) to your bank by calling a bank phone number published in the phone book.
- If you suspect you are a victim of phishing, close accounts you believe are affected. Open new accounts with new account numbers. Contact the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file.
- Forward the complete fraudulent e-mail (with header intact) to the company that is being impersonated.
As always, it is our pleasure to be serving you as your bank. If you receive any e-mails or notifications like this, please contact us at 325-627-7200.