The online and mobile banking industry continues to see increased fraudulent activity year after year.
Phishing is a scam where fraudsters try to trick you into giving them your personal information using online and/or phone tactics. These requests are most commonly in the form of an email from an organization with which you may or may not do business. In many cases, the email has been made to look exactly like a legitimate organization’s email would appear, complete with company logos and other convincing information. The email usually states that the company needs you to update your personal information or that your account is about to become inactive, all in an effort to get you to click the link to a site that only looks like the real thing. This is still one of the most popular ways for the criminal to get all the necessary information to access your accounts online.
No reputable business will ever email you requesting that you update your personal information, including account numbers, system passwords or Social Security Numbers via a link to their site.
If you are ever in doubt of the validity of the caller or email, call the company at their public phone number or go to their website and sign in to your account. Never use the number given to you by the caller or click on any link in a suspicious email, open a new Internet session and manually key in the business’ web address. If the business genuinely needs information from you, they will have you log in to your online account to see the request.
Ransomware is a form of malicious software (Malware) that infiltrates computer systems or networks and uses tools like encryption to deny access or hold data “hostage” until the victim pays a ransom, frequently demanding payment in Bitcoin. One popular technique ‐ someone will call you saying there is a problem with your computer and they need access to it to fix it. They usually say they are with a reputable company like Microsoft, Norton, etc. No legitimate company will do this. Another popular technique is the use of email Phishing campaigns which typically requires you to take some kind of action such as clicking on a link or downloading a malicious attachment. Another popular technique is a pop up on your computer that comes from malware attached to a website.
Here are some tips to help protect against phishing attacks and malware.
- Make sure you have the latest Operating System updates (Windows, Apple OS, etc.).
- Make sure your computer, mobile phone, tablet, etc. has the latest anti‐virus updates.
- Backups are crucial. Keep your files backed up regularly and periodically on a separate device.
- Do not open emails from unknown addresses or click on unverified links in your emails.
- Never click on a link from a business requesting your personal information.
- Pay close attention to the URL (Internet address) behind the link. Often in phishing attempts, if you hover the cursor over the link the fraudsters want you to click on, it has nothing to do with the actual company they claim to be.
- Be suspicious of visiting unsafe, unsecure or unreliable websites.
- Take extra caution when on social media and do not click on skeptical ads.
- If you receive a message from your family or friends with a link, before you click on it, verify that they did send it because infected machines can sometimes send random messages with links.
- If your Financial Institution uses watermarks or personal images, do not log in unless you see the correct image on the screen.
- Report any phishing attempts to your Financial Institution and to the Federal Trade Commission on their website.
As Cyber Criminals tactics continue to evolve an excellent source of information on how to prevent identity theft and what to do if you are a victim of identity theft is the Federal Trade Commission website at www.ftc.gov. Homeland Security’s website www.onguardonline.gov and the Federal Trade Commission website www.ftc.gov have valuable information about staying safe online..
If you notice any suspicious or unusual activity related to any of your accounts, contact us immediately at 1‐800‐298‐1763 or at any Branch Office; Union Springs 334‐738‐2060, Vaughn Road 334‐409‐2980, Prattville 334‐358‐0351, Lee County 334‐821‐1329 or Escambia County 251‐296‐5356.