Jun 18, 2015, 07:52 ET
SALEM, Ore., June 18, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A surge of "phishing" activity attempting to defraud bank account holders of sensitive financial information appears to be occurring in the Pacific Northwest. Such scams are usually not the result of a data breach at a financial institution. Rather, a fraudster is attempting to trick unsuspecting folks into giving out data such as their debit and credit card numbers and passwords.
Current examples being reported in Oregon involve fraudulent robo-calls targeting mobile and residential phone numbers. The bank impersonators leave messages such as, "Your card has been compromised. Press one to speak with an operator." At this point, the automated call asks for specific card information. Both debit and credit card information is being sought.
Phishing attacks can take many forms and also involve "spoofed" emails and fraudulent websites designed to trick recipients into divulging personal financial data such as credit card numbers, account usernames and passwords, Social Security numbers and other sensitive information. By hijacking the trusted brands of well-known banks and retailers, phishers are able to convince recipients to respond to them.
The email or voice mail message a customer receives can seem like it comes from a known financial institution, e-commerce site, government agency or any other service or business. It often urges the recipient to act quickly by saying their account has been compromised in some way.
Customers that are unsure whether an email or phone message is legitimate should not reply. They should also refrain from clicking on links provided in an email message. Instead, customers should verify an email or call's legitimacy with these steps:
- Contact the bank or company in question directly.
- Contact the company using information provided on an account statement or back of a credit card, not a phone number provided in a suspect message.
- Search for the company online – but not with information provided in the email.
Customers should never respond directly to email and text messages that ask them to confirm or provide personal information such as credit card and bank account numbers, Social Security numbers and online login credentials. Banks and other legitimate financial services providers generally don't ask for this information via email or text.
What to Do if You Think You are a Victim?
- Contact your bank immediately and close the account if you believe your account may be compromised. Watch for any unauthorized charges to your account. Consider reporting the attack to your local police department, and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission or the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.
- Forward phishing emails to [email protected] – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email. You also may report phishing email to [email protected]. The Anti-Phishing Working Group, a group of ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies, uses these reports to fight phishing.
"It is important that everyone is aware of phishing scams so they can protect themselves and their account information. If a customer thinks they have been phished and given out sensitive information, they should contact their bank or the company being impersonated immediately. The bank can take measures to protect the customer's account from fraud," said Linda Navarro, president and CEO of the Oregon Bankers Association. "Unfortunately, the unsuspecting customer doesn't even know they've been defrauded until it is too late, so we need to raise awareness and get folks to contact their bank right away if they may have been a victim of a phishing attack."
About the Oregon Bankers Association
Established in 1905, the Oregon Bankers Association is Oregon's only full-service trade association representing state and national commercial and savings banks chartered to do business in Oregon. More information is available at www.oregonbankers.com.
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SOURCE Oregon Bankers Association
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