With Cyber Monday and the holiday shopping season just around the corner, consumers are warned not to fall victim to phishing scams.
The Colorado Bankers Association said consumers should know that phishing is a new twist on an old telemarketing scam, but uses e-mail. Criminals send e-mails to millions of people hoping that even a few will give away valuable information.
“Consumer education is a powerful weapon in the fight against phishing,” said Jenifer Waller, CBA senior vice president. “These criminals steal the identity of a trusted company and often threaten the consumer with dire consequences if they do not act immediately.”
To avoid becoming the victim of a phishing scam, CBA offers the following tips:
- Never give out your personal or financial information in response to an unsolicited phone call, fax or e-mail, no matter how official it may seem.
- Do not respond to e-mail that may warn of dire consequences unless you validate your information immediately. Contact the company to confirm the e-mail’s validity using a telephone number or Web address you know to be genuine.
- Check your credit card and bank account statements regularly and look for unauthorized transactions, even small ones. Some thieves hope small transactions will go unnoticed. Report discrepancies immediately.
- When submitting financial information online, look for the padlock or key icon at the bottom of your Internet browser. Most secure Internet addresses, though not all use “https.”
- Report suspicious activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.
- If you have responded to an e-mail, contact your bank immediately so they can protect your account and your identity.