Spot and Avoid Phishing Scams
A fraudulent email may bear the authentic trademarks, logos, graphics and URLs of the spoofed company. Phoney ‘look alike’ web sites are designed to trick consumers and collect their personal information.
In addition, look out for the following tell-tale signs:
- The email fails to confirm that the company does business with you (i.e. by referencing your account number).
- The email warns that you have been a victim of fraud.
- The HTML tags behind the links on the email will reveal that the underlying URL usually does not link to a page within the authentic domain.
- You did not initiate contact with the sender or may not have expected to receive it.
- The email fails to address you by your name, and may be addressed “Dear Sir/Madam” or “Dear Cardholder.”
- The email contains grammatical and spelling mistakes.
Do not reply to any email that requests your personal information
If you get an email that warns you, with little or no notice, that an account of yours will be shut down unless you reconfirm your billing information, do not reply or click on the link in the email. Instead, contact the company cited in the email using a telephone number or web site address you know to be genuine (such as those provided on your monthly statements). If you click on a link in the email, you may introduce a Trojan program into your network or computer.
What is a Trojan program?
Trojan programs install themselves into your computer without your knowledge, and can track the keystrokes you make, thereby giving the criminal access to your personal information.
Protect your computer from Trojans and other viruses
- Use an Internet firewall. A firewall helps to protect against unauthorized access to files and services on your computer while you are connected to the Internet.
- Ensure that your computer's operating system has the latest updates and patches installed. Implementing these fixes will address vulnerability issues, which Trojans and other viruses may exploit.
- Use up-to-date anti-virus software. This will enable your anti-virus software to detect and remove the latest viruses.
Visit the following websites for updates on the latest viruses, reviews of anti-virus software and tips on how you can protect your computer against Trojans and other viruses.
CNET Virus Center
Microsoft: Protect Your PC
Be aware when submitting personal or financial information on web sites
Before submitting financial information through a web site, look for the “padlock” icon on your browser’s status bar – this signals that your information is secure during transactions. To be sure, double-click on this icon and check that the security certificate belongs to a trusted source.
Leave suspicious sites
If you suspect that a website is not what it claims to be, leave the site immediately. Do not follow any of the instructions on the site.
Adopt good password habits
Avoid predictable passwords such as your family name, birthdates and phone numbers. Use a mixture of upper and lower-case letters and numbers in your password and ensure that it is at least six characters in length. Change your passwords regularly.
Monitor your transactions
Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balance.
Avoid using public Internet terminals for online financial transactions
Do not use public Internet terminals, such as those at Internet cafes or public libraries to conduct financial transactions online.
Report email fraud
If you think you have received a fraudulent email claiming to be from Visa, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please attach emails or web addresses received that you suspect are fraudulent. If you think you have given away your account details to a fraudulent site, call the customer service number printed on the back of your payment card.
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