A major education campaign to help consumers cut the line on phishing scams was launched this week. VISA USA, the Better Business Bureau, Call For Action, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Treasury Department have partnered to tackle the nasty scam whereby fraudsters attempt to convince consumers to reveal personal information through fake Web sites or emails. Many financial institutions use e-mail to communicate with customers and direct them to their Web sites where the customers may be asked to enter personal information as part of registering for a service, such as online banking or accessing account information. However, if the e-mail wasn’t initiated in response to an action by the consumer, it’s a good idea to go directly to the organization’s Web site by entering the Web site’s address rather than linking to it from an e-mail.
To avoid getting lured into a phishing scam:
* Treat unsolicited e-mail requests for financial information or other personal data with suspicion. Unsolicited means the e-mail wasn’t initiated in response to an action by the consumer. Do not reply to the unsolicited e-mail or respond by clicking on a link within the unsolicited e-mail message.
* Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the e-mail to verify if it is genuine. Visit a secure Web site or call a phone number that you know to be legitimate.
* Only enter personal information on a secure Web site that you know to be legitimate. Visa or your card issuer would never ask you to send Social Security numbers, account numbers, passwords, or PINs within an e-mail message. When entering personal data at a Web site, look for a “locked padlock” in the browser or “https” at the beginning of the Web site address to make sure the site is secure.
* Update anti-virus software and security patches to system software regularly. Phishing emails can contain viruses that may harm your computer if opened.
* Be cautious. Check your monthly statements to verify all transactions. Notify your bank immediately of any erroneous or suspicious transactions.
* Forward any suspicious e-mails to the Federal Trade Commission at [email protected] or file a complaint with the FTC at http://www.ftc.gov. You can also forward unsolicited e-mails claiming to be from Visa or your Visa card issuer to [email protected]
“To view some examples of actual phishing scams click here.”:http://www.cardweb.com/cardtrak/phishing/main.amp