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Protect Yourself Online

CONSUMER ADVICE:

Protect yourself from Phishing, Pharming and Identity Theft


How to Avoid Phishing Scams

Phishing – as in fishing for confidential information – is a scam that encompasses fraudulently obtaining and using an individual's personal or financial information. The number and sophistication of phishing scams sent out to consumers is continuing to increase dramatically. While online banking and e-commerce is very safe, as a general rule you should be careful about giving out your personal financial information over the Internet. The list of recommendations below that you can use to avoid becoming a victim of these scams.

1. Be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information.

  • unless the email is digitally signed, you can't be sure it wasn't forged or 'spoofed'
  • phishers typically include upsetting or exciting (but false) statements in their emails to get people to react immediately
  • they typically ask for information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc.
  • phishers emails are typically NOT personalized, while valid messages from your bank or e-commerce company generally are


2. Don't use the links in an email to get to any web page, if you suspect the message might not be authentic.

  • instead, call the company on the telephone, or log onto the website directly by typing in the Web address in your browser


3. Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal financial information.

  • you should only communicate information such as credit card numbers or account information via a secure website or the telephone

4. Always ensure that you're using a secure website when submitting credit card or other sensitive information via your Web browser.

  • to make sure you're on a secure Web server, check the beginning of the Web address in your browser's address bar - it should be "https://" rather than just "http://" and at the bottom of the browser will be a padlock indicating a secure connection.
  • Click on the padlock to view the security certificate.

5. Regularly log into your online accounts.

  • don't leave it for as long as a month before you check each account

6. Regularly check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure that all transactions are legitimate if anything is suspicious, contact your bank and all card issuers.

7. Ensure that your browser is up to date and security patches applied.

  • in particular, people who use the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser should immediately go to the Microsoft Security home page -- http://www.microsoft.com/security -- to download a special patch relating to certain phishing schemes

Contact us @ 888-SOY-BANK (769-2265) to report any Phishing or if you think you may be a victim of identity theft.