Friday, August 13, 2010

How To Avoid Identity Theft

identity theft
'Phishing' is a high-tech scam that deceives people into disclosing their credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, passwords, or other sensitive information over the Internet. Recently, some employees have been targeted by Phishing attacks, including e-mails that appear to have originated at local banks. The information below is provided to help warn our employees about phishing scams.

Phishers attack by sending spoofed (or forged) e-mails, spam and pop-up messages that claim to be from a business or organization that consumers regularly conduct business with, such as an internet service provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a government agency. Messages often request that recipients 'update' or 'validate' account information and might threaten dire consequences if they don't respond. Messages then direct users to a web site that looks just like a legitimate organization' s site, but isn't. The purpose of the false site is to trick people into divulging their personal information so that operators can steal their identities and run up bills or commit crimes in their names.

While online banking and e-commerce are very safe, as a general rule great care should be taken when divulging personal financial information over the Internet.

* Do not e-mail personal or financial information. If you get an e-mail or pop-up message that asks for such information, do not reply or click on the link in the message. Legitimate companies do not ask for personal inform-ation via e-mail. To convey information about your account, contact the organization by telephone or open a new internet browser using a valid web address for the company.

* If you need to provide your personal or financial information to complete a transaction through an organization' s web site, look for indicators that the site is secure, such as a lock icon on the browser's status bar or a URL (web address) for a website that begins "https:" (the "s" stands for "secure"). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have even forged security icons.

* Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges. If your statement is several days late, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.

Source: Unknown

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