I can’t imagine receiving an email from my bank that didn’t include my name and other pertinent personal details. After all, how difficult would it be for my bank to personally address an email to me, given the size and complexity of their database?
So receiving an email like the one below, instantly raises my fraud antenna – as I’m sure it does yours. Right?
“Dear Chase member,
You were qualified to participate in $50.00 credit reward surwey. – (When are these people going to learn to spell?)
Just take part in our quick 5 question survey:
Who couldn’t use an extra $50 – especially these days, with the economy in the tank? Unfortunately, there is no $50. This email is a phishing attempt.
If you’re unfamiliar with phishing, it is defined as the act of tricking unsuspecting Internet users into revealing sensitive or private information. It relies for its success on the principle that asking a large number of people for this information, will always deceive at least some of those people.
Most of this activity is automated, so phishing is considered an opportunistic attack, rather than the targeting of a specific person. You can relax – they’re not after you personally.
In a phishing attack, the attacker creates a set of circumstances where the potential victims are convinced that they are dealing with an authorized party; in this case, Chase. What makes this particular type of scam so potent is, the average person on receiving an email from an authoritative source, generally lowers their defenses.
Although it may be true that the Internet has the potential for safe, and secure transactions, staying safe online relies on you making good choices and decisions that will help you avoid costly surprises, or carefully crafted scams and phishing schemes such as the one just described.
The type of attack described above, is occurring with such frequency that the IC³ (the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, has called the situation “alarming”, so you need to be extremely vigilant.
Be kind to your friends, relatives, and associates, and let them know that these types of scams are now epidemic on the Internet. In that way, it raises the level of protection for all of us.
Minimum safety precautions you should take:
Don’t click links in emails. If they come from a known source, type them on the browser’s address bar. If they come from an untrusted source, simply ignore them.
Consider every email, telephone call, or text message requesting confirmation of your personal and financial information as a scam.
When contacting your bank; use a telephone number from your statement, a telephone book, or another independent source.
Don’t open emails that come from untrusted sources.
Don’t run files that you receive via email without making sure of their origin.
Keep your computer protected. Install a security solution and keep it up-to-date.
An additional key point offered by my Internet friend Georg L. – Do not use any e-mail client like Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, or others. Instead, rely exclusively on the webmail facility of your service provider, even if this is less comfortable. In this way, e-mail cannot be misused as a vector for malware, because nothing is downloaded to your computer in the first place. By going without an e-mail client, you also save computer resources.
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