Don’t Get Hooked By Scammers Out "Phishing"!
Internet scammers casting about for people’s financial information have a way to lure unsuspecting victims: They go “phishing”.
Also called “carding”, phishing is a high-tech scam that uses spam to deceive consumers into disclosing their credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information.
How it works.
Scammers send you an email that appears to be from a business that you commonly deal with, such as: your internet service provider, online payment service, or bank.
The email says you need to “update” or “validate” your billing information to keep your account active. You are directed to a “lookalike” website of the legitimate business, further tricking you into thinking you are responding to a valid request.
Unknowingly, you end up submitting your financial information to scammers who use your financial information to order goods and services and obtain credit in your name.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urges you to take the following precautions to avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam:
- 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 website address that you know to be genuine.
- Avoid emailing personal and financial information. Before submitting financial information through a website, look for the “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar. It signals that your information is secure during transmission.
- Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to see if 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 balances.
- Report suspicious activity to the Federal Trade Commission. Send the actual spam to uce at ftc dot gov. If you believe you’ve been scammed, file your complaint at www.ftc.gov, and then visit the FTC’s Identity Theft website to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from identity theft.
Visit www.ftc.gov/phishing to learn other ways to avoid email scams and deal with deceptive spam.
We have been made aware of a recurring “phishing” scam involving Bridgewater Savings Bank customers. Automated calls have been to made to our customers telling them that their debit or credit cards have been compromised or locked. You are instructed to “press one” to continue. If you continue through the telephone menu system, you will be prompted to enter your debit or credit card information, including the card number, personal identification number (PIN), and expiration date.
If you received a call like this and provided your information, please call us at 800.356.8622, or visit your local branch for assistance.
If you disclosed sensitive information in a phishing attack, you should also contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your file.