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Fraud Prevention Tips
How to avoid falling victim to phishing, pharming and other types of online and mobile banking fraud
“Phishing” is the act of attempting to fraudulently acquire sensitive information like passwords and credit card numbers by masquerading as a trustworthy person or business. The request often comes through with a sense of urgency in an email or text message that appears to be official.
How to prevent phishing attacks
“Pharming” is an attack that misleads a user to enter sensitive data like passwords or credit card numbers into a malicious website that “spoofs” a legitimate website. Unlike phishing, the attacker doesn’t have to rely on the user clicking a link in an email. Even if the user correctly enters a URL into a browser’s address bar, the attacker can still redirect the user to a malicious website.
How to prevent pharming attacks
Don’t expect the Internet browser address bar on the spoofed site to tell you anything useful. If the criminals are good, it will look exactly like the real website. Only a certificate like those issued by Verisign will confirm you’re on a valid website.
How will you know? When you visit a website that uses a certificate, you’ll see a box asking if you want to trust the certificate, a common practice for online banking. Compare the name on the certificate. If it doesn’t match the site you’re trying to reach, you know something is wrong. Close the window and call the company immediately. If the certificate is valid, save that page so your browser will recognize it next time.
Business Email Compromise
Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a type of phishing attack in which a cybercriminal impersonates a high-level executive or other trusted contact to trick an email recipient into transferring funds into a fraudulent account.
Who’s targeted in a BEC attack?
Cybercriminals seek out situations in which fund transfers happen on a regular basis, and anyone authorized to complete financial transactions for a business could be a target. Controllers, accountants and real estate agents are frequent victims.
How does a BEC attack happen?
How to prevent BEC attacks
Credit Reporting Bureaus
How to check on fraud
If you believe you’ve been a victim of fraud, call the fraud unit of one of the credit reporting bureaus. (All three share fraud information, so you only need to contact one.) Here’s what to do once you reach them:
1. Report credit card theft.
2. Ask for your accounts to be flagged.
3. Add a victim’s statement to your report (100 words max). Example: “My ID has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at [phone number] to verify all credit applications.”
4. Ask for names/phone numbers of credit grantors who’ve opened fraudulent accounts in your name.
5. Ask the credit bureau to remove inquiries generated via fraudulent access and send notifications to any recipients of your credit report in the last six months (two years for employers).
6. Be sure to check how long a fraud alert is on your account and how to extend it if necessary.
7. Request free copies of your credit report every few months so you can monitor it.
Report fraud: Call 800-525-6285 or 800-685-1111
Request a copy of your credit report in writing: Equifax, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Dispute information in your credit report in writing: Equifax, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
Opt out of pre-approved credit offers in writing: Equifax, P.O. Box 740123, Atlanta, GA 30374-0123
Report fraud: Call 888-397-3742 or fax 800-301-7196
Contact Experian Consumer Fraud Assistance in writing: P.O. Box 1017, Allen, TX 75013
Dispute information in your credit report: Call Experian at the phone number on your credit report.
Opt out of pre-approved credit offers and marketing lists: Call 800-353-0809
Report fraud: Call 800-680-7289 or write to Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634.
Order a copy of your credit report: Call 800-916-8800 or write to Trans Union, P.O. Box 390, Springfield, PA 19064.
Dispute information in your credit report: Call 800-888-4213 or the phone number on your credit report or use the “Investigation Request Form” that comes with your credit report.
Opt out of pre-approved credit offers and marketing lists: Call 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688)
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Los Angeles
For additional assistance with removing fraudulent claims from your credit report, call the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Los Angeles at 800-750-2227.
Social Security Administration
If your Social Security number has been compromised, call the Social Security Administration (SSA) immediately at 800-269-0271. You may also order your Earnings and Benefits Statement by calling the SSA at 800-772-1213.
Reporting Theft or Fraudulent Use of Checks
To report theft or fraudulent use of your checks, call your local bank branch immediately and contact:
ChexSystems* 800-328-5121 or 800-428-9623
*Regarding closed checking accounts only.
Wire Fraud Prevention
Wire transfer is one of the common types of fraudulent activity due to the speed of payment. Cyber criminals know money wired is nearly impossible to recover because of immediate settlement and funds availability. They use BEC schemes initiated by an email requesting a wire transfer that appears to come from a known source.
How to prevent wire fraud