“Phishing” is a scam that uses email, pop-up messages, fraudulent websites, or spam (junk email) to deceive you into disclosing personal financial information such as credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers, bank accounts, passwords, and other sensitive information.
Many of these fraudulent emails contain links directing one to a fake website that may resemble one’s bank website or some other trusted entity. The fake website is designed to trick a person into entering his or her personal information. The message may ask the person to “update” or “verify” account information.
Certain attachments and links could infect a personal computer with viruses, worms or Trojan Horses that allow criminals to capture keystrokes or other confidential information.
If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, notify one of the three major credit bureaus, ask them to place a “fraud alert” on your credit report, and send you a copy of your credit file. The fraud alert will ask creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts.
It is a good practice to review your credit reports periodically, whether you have been scammed or not, to ensure the information being reported is accurate.
Banks might maintain a special email address to help their customers in these instances. The email in question could be forwarded to the special email address.
If customers have responded to such an email and provided information about their account(s), the affected customers could call Guaranty Bank’s main telephone number for assistance – (800) 847-7454.
Forward your suspected phishing email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you believe you’ve been scammed, file your complaint at ReportFraud.ftc.gov
Call the FTC toll-free at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)
Contact your local police department and file a report. Get a report number or copy of the report. Also, be sure to file the proper affidavits.
You can also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Fraud Complaint Center at Internet Crime Complaint Center(IC3) | Home Page
For more information on how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, go to Identity Theft | FTC Consumer Information or call toll-free 1-877-438-4338.
This site also allows you to report your identity theft to the FTC’s Identity Theft Clearinghouse – a government database of identity theft complaints.
You can mail your information to:
Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington DC 20580
This information is shared with consumer reporting agencies, other government agencies and companies where the fraud occurred.
Congratulations! You have just won the lottery and will be receiving a certified check for $200,000 U.S. CASH! Many lottery and sweepstake letters, e-mails, or phone calls are not legitimate and often based in international locations such as Canada or Nigeria. Con artists will generally convince consumers to send in money to claim a “prize” and the only thing that separates them from their “winnings” is a fee (for administration, processing, taxes, etc.) and proof of identity. Some general tips to recognize a scam include:
Further information on sweepstake and lottery scams can be located through the Federal Trade Commission – http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0086-international-lottery-scams or a simple “lottery scams” Internet search will provide other helpful advice and a listing of fake lottery companies.
This type of fraud first started in Nigeria, but is now prevalent in many countries. You receive an “urgent” letter or e-mail from an alleged “official” representing a foreign government or agency offering the recipient an “opportunity” to share in a percentage of millions of dollars. Common forms of this type of fraud include: disbursement of money from wills, purchase of real estate, transfer of funds from over-invoiced contracts, sale of goods, found monies, or contest/lottery winnings.
The fraudster may offer to transfer large sums of money into a victim’s personal bank account, which would necessitate the victim providing personal information (and possibly future identity theft). Another scheme may require the victim to deposit a check into their account and immediately wire a portion of the money to a third party outside of the country. These are generally counterfeit checks and the victim ends up with nothing but a loss of funds. Further information regarding this type of advance, up-front fee scheme can be found in the following links:
United States Department of State
Go to http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/2189.pdf for more information.
Local Secret Service Office (if you have suffered a significant loss)
Go to http://www.secretservice.gov/field_offices.shtml for more information.
Fake check scams start when someone gives you a realistic-looking check or money order and asks you to wire them money in return. The check is phony and it may take weeks to discover. The bank cannot be sure the check is valid and now wants the money back after the check is returned as a counterfeit. You are responsible for checks or money orders that you deposit, even if they are fake. There is no legitimate reason why anyone would give you a check or money order and ask you to wire money in return. Learn more at http://www.fakechecks.org where you can take a fraud test, review videos, and learn prevention tips. The Federal Trade Commission’s Money Matters at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/moneymatters/scam-watch-wiring-money.shtml, also provides helpful advice on avoiding money wiring scams.
With “smishing,” instead of a scam e-mail, a bogus text message is received. This is the latest twist on stealing your identity. You may get a text message (or an automated voicemail scam called “vishing”) stating that your account has been suspended (or debit/credit card blocked) and asking you to call a 1-800 number where your account number, PIN, and other data may be requested. Do not respond until you verify the legitimacy of the message by contacting your financial institution directly using phone numbers you are certain about, such as the customer service number on your statement or on the back of your credit card.
The following is a list of links that may provide additional information on common fraud schemes:
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Go to http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety for more information.
Federal Reserve Bank
Go to http://www.richmondfed.org/banking/education_for_bankers/fraud_awareness/index.cfm for more information.
Go to http://www.lookstoogoodtobetrue.com for more information.
Internet Crime Complaint Center
Go to http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx for more information.
Go to http://https://www.bankersonline.com/articles/107233 for more information.
Consumer Federation of America
Go to http://www.consumerfed.org/index.php/consumer-privacy/fraud for more information.