Scammers could use email addresses and other information recently stolen from Epsilon and RSA Security to try to trick consumers into providing personal information, including bank account or credit card information. These "spoof" emails could appear to be from trusted sources and constitute an identity theft scam known as "phishing."
Emails from legitimate financial institutions and businesses will not ask for passwords, card numbers or other sensitive information.
Perpetrators of phishing scams can max-out a victim's credit cards, empty their bank accounts or take out loans in their name. An identity thief can also establish new accounts with banks, credit card companies, utilities and other businesses.
Consumers who believe they have been targeted by phishing or other ID-theft scams should immediately contact the financial institutions or businesses from which the suspicious information appears to have come and also notify local police.
Consumers with questions about possible phishing scams can call the Pennsylvania Department of Banking toll-free at 1-800-PA-BANKS (1-800-722-2657).
The Department of Banking urges consumers to "do their homework" before entering into business with any financial company. Consumers can learn about companies licensed or chartered by the Department of Banking at www.banking.state.pa.us and 1-800-PA-BANKS.