There is a new type of Internet piracy called “phishing”. It’s pronounced “fishing”, and that’s exactly what these thieves are doing: “fishing” for your personal financial information. What they want are account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, and other confidential information that they can use to loot your checking account or run up bills on your credit cards.
In the worst case, you could find yourself a victim of identity theft. With the sensitive information obtained from a successful phishing scam, these thieves can take out loans or obtain credit cards and even driver’s licenses in your name. They can do damage to your financial history and personal reputation that can take years to unravel.
In a typical case, you’ll receive an e-mail that appears to come from a reputable company that you recognize and do business with, such as your financial institution. In some cases, the e-mail may appear to come from a government agency, including one of the federal financial institution regulatory agencies.
The e-mail will warn you of a serious problem that requires your immediate attention. It may use phrases, such as “Immediate attention required,” or “Please contact us immediately about your account.” The e-mail will then encourage you to click on a button to go to the institution’s web site.
In the phishing scam, you could be redirected to a phony web site that may look exactly like the real thing. Sometimes it may be the company’s actual web site. In those cases, a pop-up window will quickly appear for the purpose of harvesting your financial information.
In either case, you may be asked to update your account information or to provide information for verification purposes: your Social Security number, your account number, your password, or the information you use to verify your identity when speaking to a real financial institution, such as your mother’s maiden name or your place of birth.
If you receive one of these e-mails or a similar e-mail, do not respond to it and never provide any confidential personal or account information.
If you provide the requested information, you may find yourself the victim of identity theft.
We wish to remind you that St. Anne Credit Union would never send an e-mail like this or request you to submit personal information, your member information, or your account information through an e-mail. You should be aware that these types of fraudulent schemes have a habit of reappearing in a same or similar fashion and that you should never respond to these e-mail requests for your confidential account information.
For more information, including how you can report a phishing scam if you were a victim of such a crime, go to http://www.cybercrime.gov/. You may also contact the NCUA Fraud Hotline at 1-800-827-9650.