In the financial industry, we are always trying to be one step ahead of the scam artists. Con artists are increasing their attempts to use the Internet to trick people into revealing sensitive and private information about them.
The latest scam, called “phishing,” uses replicas of existing Web pages to deceive users. These replicated pages that look like official sites prompt the user to enter personal, financial or password data.
Phishers use e-mail lures to “fish” passwords and financial data from the sea of Internet users. E-mail messages looking like they came from a business or financial institution are mailed to Internet users. The e-mails direct the recipient to update or provide information back to the company’s Web site by instructing the user to click on a URL embedded within the e-mail. The embedded URL links the user to the counterfeit Web site designed to look like the institution’s legitimate Web site. Passwords and other personal information are then solicited and collected by the Web site and used by the scammer to defraud the user.
Large financial institutions have been the primary targets of phishing scams, but it is prudent to expect that smaller financial institutions will also be targeted.
What you
can do to
protect yourself:
* Do not trust or act upon unsolicited e-mails that request personal information such as passwords, credit or debit card numbers, ATM PINs, and social security numbers. Know how to spot a fraudulent e-mail. They are typically not personalized with financial institution information, often present end users with scenarios of negative consequences if they do not act immediately, and often contain flawed English.
* Never fill out forms contained in e-mail messages requesting sensitive information. Personal information should be provided by calling your financial institution directly or by logging onto their secure Web site.
* Keep your Web browser patches up to date by regularly accessing your browser’s Web site to download security patches. Patching your browser regularly will protect you against a variety of software vulnerabilities.
* Regularly log into your online accounts. If you see anything unusual, report it to your financial institution immediately.
* Pay close attention to your bank and credit card statements. If you see anything suspicious, immediately contact your financial institution and the card issuer.
* If you receive an e-mail claiming to be from your financial institution but which you suspect is aimed at defrauding you, contact your financial institution and the FBI’s Internet Fraud Complaint Center at www.ifccfbi.gov.
As we all transition into “paperless” businesses and use the Internet as a basis of information, crimes and schemes like this will be more prevalent. If you have any questions about online security, contact the financial institution that has your personal information. This latest scheme is reaching even those with plenty of computer experience. The last word of advice: be cautious and aware.
Dean Hempel is the owner of The Financial Professionals in Seymour. He is a Certified Senior Advisor(R) and active in the Sevier County Elder Abuse Coalition. Dean is also the vice president of C.R.O.S.S. Inc. (Christians Reaching Out Serving Seymour). For more information, contact Dean Hempel at (865) 577-6177.

Comments are closed.

In the financial industry, we are always trying to be one step ahead of the scam artists. Con artists are increasing their attempts to use the Internet to trick people into revealing sensitive and private information about them.
The latest scam, called “phishing,” uses replicas of existing Web pages to deceive users. These replicated pages that look like official sites prompt the user to enter personal, financial or password data.
Phishers use e-mail lures to “fish” passwords and financial data from the sea of Internet users. E-mail messages looking like they came from a business or financial institution are mailed to Internet users. The e-mails direct the recipient to update or provide information back to the company’s Web site by instructing the user to click on a URL embedded within the e-mail. The embedded URL links the user to the counterfeit Web site designed to look like the institution’s legitimate Web site. Passwords and other personal information are then solicited and collected by the Web site and used by the scammer to defraud the user.
Large financial institutions have been the primary targets of phishing scams, but it is prudent to expect that smaller financial institutions will also be targeted.
What you
can do to
protect yourself:
* Do not trust or act upon unsolicited e-mails that request personal information such as passwords, credit or debit card numbers, ATM PINs, and social security numbers. Know how to spot a fraudulent e-mail. They are typically not personalized with financial institution information, often present end users with scenarios of negative consequences if they do not act immediately, and often contain flawed English.
* Never fill out forms contained in e-mail messages requesting sensitive information. Personal information should be provided by calling your financial institution directly or by logging onto their secure Web site.
* Keep your Web browser patches up to date by regularly accessing your browser’s Web site to download security patches. Patching your browser regularly will protect you against a variety of software vulnerabilities.
* Regularly log into your online accounts. If you see anything unusual, report it to your financial institution immediately.
* Pay close attention to your bank and credit card statements. If you see anything suspicious, immediately contact your financial institution and the card issuer.
* If you receive an e-mail claiming to be from your financial institution but which you suspect is aimed at defrauding you, contact your financial institution and the FBI’s Internet Fraud Complaint Center at www.ifccfbi.gov.
As we all transition into “paperless” businesses and use the Internet as a basis of information, crimes and schemes like this will be more prevalent. If you have any questions about online security, contact the financial institution that has your personal information. This latest scheme is reaching even those with plenty of computer experience. The last word of advice: be cautious and aware.
Dean Hempel is the owner of The Financial Professionals in Seymour. He is a Certified Senior Advisor(R) and active in the Sevier County Elder Abuse Coalition. Dean is also the vice president of C.R.O.S.S. Inc. (Christians Reaching Out Serving Seymour). For more information, contact Dean Hempel at (865) 577-6177.

Comments are closed.