“These are sophisticated scams that exploit consumers’ fears that their account has been compromised. Because the messages look real and create a sense of urgency, it’s easy to be fooled,” said ITAC President Anne Wallace. “Stop and think before you respond to a request for personal information. And if you think you’ve been scammed, call your financial services company immediately so they can help protect your account.”
As consumers become more aware of email phishing scams, criminals are changing tactics. Increasingly, they are using two variations of phishing – “vishing” and “smishing.” Vishing uses the phone, or combination of telephone and email, to trick people into divulging personal information online or by phone. Smishing scam artists use alarming SMS text messages that urge the recipient to take immediate action to correct an account problem.
ITAC offers some tips to help you avoid getting caught in a phishing net:
Be suspicious of any unsolicited email or text message requesting personal information.
Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal information.
Always compare the link in the email to the link that you are actually directed to.
Log on to the company’s official website, instead of "linking" to it from an unsolicited email.
Contact the business that supposedly sent the email to verify if the email is genuine.
“Consumers should be skeptical and take reasonable precautions to make sure they know the identity of the individual and businesses they are interacting with,” said Greg Donewar, manager of the FBI/NW3C Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Always report "phishing" or “spoofed” e-mails to the following the Anti-Phishing Working Group at [email protected]; the Federal Trade Commission at [email protected]; forward email to the "abuse" email address at the company that is being spoofed (e.g. "[email protected]"); and the FBI’s IC3 by filing a complaint on their website: www.ic3.gov/.
ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center (www.identitytheftassistance.org), is the national advocate for identity theft victims and a leading voice on identity policy. Millions of consumers have access to the ITAC victim assistance service through our members – the financial services companies who support ITAC and offer it as a free service for their customers. ITAC is dedicated to protecting all consumers through education, research and the criminal prosecution of identity crime. Through our partnership with Intersections Inc, ITAC’s world-class victim assistance and identity management service is available to everyone through ITAC Sentinel' (www.itacsentinel.com).
Media Contact: Kate Ennis (301) 580-6726