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Three Internet Scams You Should Know About

posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 in Newsroom

The internet offers the potential for safe, convenient new ways to shop for financial services and conduct banking business 24-7.  However, it's important to remember that fraudsters are out there and safe online banking involves making good choices, in order to avoid costly surprises or even scams.

Phishing (pronounced "fishing") is when someone posing as a trusted source (such as a bank or retailer) sends an-looking email to you and directs you to enter personal or financial information into a fraudulent site or instructs you to click on a link within an email.  You should never open attachments or click on any links if you believe the email to be suspicious.  If it looks like an alert, you should go directly to the company's website and look for information there.  Make sure not to access the company's website through the email but instead type the URL directly into your internet browser or use a search engine to find their official site.  Banks, card issuers or retailers will never ask for personal information in an email.

Smishing is the same idea as phishing, except it targets victims through text messaging instead of email.  This scam is becoming increasingly prevalent as more and more consumers turn to mobile phones and texting for communication.  If you receive a text message from a source claiming to be your bank or a trusted retailer, you should contact the company directly, through the phone number listed on your statement rather than replying directly to the text message.

Vishing is one of the most personal forms of Internet fraud.  Scammers use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to trick people into divulging personal financial information through one of the most trusted forms of communication: the telephone.  While consumers have learned to be suspicious of phishing scams that involve solicitations for personal financial information directly over the internet, many are still easily persuaded to divulge that information when called directly or when an email instructs them to call a specific number.

If you feel as though you have been a victim of any of the above mentioned Internet scams, please notify one of the three credit bureaus.  Click here for Equifax, Experian and TransUnion contact information.

Click here for more information on how to protect your identity and to view a short video on identity theft prevention.

Source: Shazam Network Blog | September 26, 2012 | Terry Dooley

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