E-mails & Online Fraud
E-mail is another area where your personal and financial information is at risk. In a scam known as “phishing,” con artists claim to be from a reputable company and send out thousands of fake e-mails in hopes that consumers will respond with their bank account information, credit card numbers, passwords or other sensitive information.
These e-mails look convincing, with company logos and banners copied from actual websites. They often report that their security procedure has changed or that they need to update or validate your information, and then direct you to a look-a-like website. If you respond, the thieves can use your information to perpetrate identity theft or compromise existing accounts.
To avoid becoming a victim of a phishing scam, please review our tips for spotting a fraudulent e-mail.
Malware, short for “malicious software”, includes viruses, spyware and Trojans that are designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system.
Malware is often used to steal personal information and commit fraud. There are several ways to minimize the risk of malware:
- Avoid downloads from file sharing and social networking sites, which can be distribution points for malware.
- Do not open email attachments or install free software from unknown sources.
- Do not click on pop-up advertisements asking for personal or financial information, close them.
- Regularly update your security and system software to protect your computer from threats.
Smishing is a form of criminal activity via cell phone messages to deliver the “bait” to get you to divulge your personal information.
The criminal may pose as your bank and use text messages in an attempt to gain access to confidential account information.