A rapidly growing form of Internet fraud is a practice known as “PHISHING.” This fraud can lead to financial loss, identity theft and loss of confidence in any institution whose site has been “PHISHED.”
How does it work?
Online thieves send out e-mails that appear to originate from legitimate companies. The e-mail messages direct victims to fraudulent look-alike websites, where the victim is asked to enter personal and financial information. Because the PHISH sites look entirely legitimate and the request appears to be coming from a trusted financial institution or credit card company, victims enter their credit card numbers, Social Insurance Numbers (SINs), bank account information and address, phone number and e-mail details. Any information entered into the PHISH site is captured by a crook that will steal the victim’s identity to acquire new credit cards, redirect mail and open bank accounts in the victim’s name.
Here are some tips from Access CU that can help you guard against this and other types of Identity Theft:
Be suspicious of any e-mail with urgent requests for personal financial information. Access Credit Union or any reputable financial institution and credit card company will not request personal or financial information in this manner. Please be aware that Access Credit Union will never ask you to provide confidential information through regular email. If you receive an email that asks you to provide confidential information such as your account numbers, PIN or password, do not respond and please notify us by sending an email to us. To help us with our investigation, please include a description of the incident and attach any emails you received that you suspect may be fraudulent. Avoid changing or retyping any part of the original message as this may interfere with our investigation. Once you have forwarded it to us, please delete the email from your inbox.
Don’t use web page links in an e-mail if you suspect the message, e-mail or website might not be authentic.
Avoid filling out forms in e-mail messages that ask for personal financial information.
Always ensure you’re using a secure website when submitting credit card or other sensitive information through your browser.
Check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure all transactions are legitimate. Be cautious of email and Web sites pretending to represent a legitimate company that ask you to provide confidential and financial information.
Want to learn more about fraud and identity theft? The Government of Canada has a number of helpful resources for your protection.