Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Phishing Scams

Approximately 5 percent of all individuals who receive phishing e-mails believe they are legitimate and respond in some way to them according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (anti-phishing.org). Responding to a fraudulent e-mail could lead to devastating consequences, which include financial loss and identity theft.

To avoid falling for phishing scams:

  1. Be suspicious of e-mail messages with urgent requests for personal information.
    Phishers:
    • typically include urgent requests for information or inappropriate statements in their e-mails to get people to react immediately.
    • typically ask for information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc.
    • send e-mails that are not addressed directly to you but to a group, i.e. Dear TIB Customer, etc.
  2. Be wary of e-mails that contain typographical, wording, or grammar errors. This may be an indication that the e-mail is fraudulent.
  3. Do not use embedded e-mail links to access a web page, especially if you suspect that the e-mail is not authentic. Contact the company by phone, or directly access the company’s website by typing the web address yourself into the web browser.
  4. Avoid filling out forms in e-mail messages or filling out forms from websites accessed through embedded e-mail links. You should only communicate sensitive information via a secure website that you accessed directly yourself by manually typing the web address within the web browser.
  5. If entering sensitive information at a website, ensure the website is secure. The best way to ensure you are using a secure website, is to verify the website address begins with: "https://" as opposed to just "http://".
  6. Monitor your bank, credit card and other accounts regularly.
  7. Monitor your credit report at least once a year. You are eligible to receive one credit report a year from each of the three main credit bureaus (i.e. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Your free credit reports can be accessed at the following link: (https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp).
  8. Ensure your web browser and operating system are kept up to date with the most current security patches. In particular, people who use the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser should obtain and install security patches from the Microsoft Security home page: http://www.microsoft.com/security.
  9. If you receive a suspicious e-mail claiming to be from TIB, forward the entire e-mail with the original e-mail header intact to:  or call 800-808-9555.
  10. If you receive a suspicious e-mail from an organization other than TIB, forward the entire e-mail with it’s header information intact to the United States Computer Emergency Response Team at .

Victims of Phishing

  1. Contact your financial institutions immediately.
  2. Contact the major credit bureaus (i.e. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit report.
  3. File a complaint with the FTC. To file a complaint and to alert lenders of your situation, obtain the Identity Theft Affidavit residing at the following web address: www.consumer.gov/idtheft.
  4. Review all billing and bank statements immediately for accuracy.
  5. Close all affected accounts and open new ones.
  6. Contact your law enforcement agency and file a police report.
  7. Contact the Social Security Administration (www.ssa.gov) if your Social Security Number has been compromised.

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