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How to Avoid Phishing Scams

Email Phishing Alert

Identity Theft Protection: Every year, thousands of people are victimized through fraud and identity theft. Criminals may attempt to attain your confidential information in many ways, including the internet, by telephone or going through your trash. First Northern Bank and Trust is providing the following information to help you protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft.

By E-Mail:

The most common form of phishing is by e-mail. Pretending to be from your financial institution, or a legitimate retailer or government agency, the sender asks you to "confirm" your personal information for some made-up reason. Typically, the e-mail contains a link to a phony Web site that looks just like the real thing - with sophisticated graphics and images. In fact, the fake Web sites are near-replicas of the real one, making it hard even for experts to distinguish between the real and fake Web sites. You enter your personal information onto the Web site - and into the hands of identity thieves. "PayPal", "Ebay", and "Yahoo Wallet" are just a few that have been used. Using these company's websites, cardholders receive an email that states the information on file is old and out-dated. The cardholder then updates what they think is a legitimate email with their private information.

By Phone:

Phishers also use the phone to hunt for personal information. Some may pose as employers or a representative of your financial institution. Never divulge any confidential account information over the phone. Your bank will never contact you this way.

Something's Phishy If...

While phishing scams can be sophisticated, the following features are often indicators that something is "phishy." Be aware of a potential scam if:

  1. Someone contacts you unexpectedly and asks for your personal information such as your financial institution account number, an account password or PIN, credit card number or Social Security number. Legitimate companies and agencies don't operate that way.
  2. The sender, who is a supposed representative of a company you do business with, asks you to confirm that you have a relationship with the company. This information is on record with the real company.
  3. You are warned that your account will be shut down unless you "reconfirm" your financial information.
  4. Links in an e-mail you receive ask you to provide personal information. To check whether an e-mail or call is really from the company or agency, call it directly or go to the company's Web site (use a search engine to find it).

  1. Dear eBay Member, We regret to inform you that your eBay account has been suspended due to the violation of our site policy due to false or missing contact information. Due to the suspension of this account, please be advised that you are prohibited from using eBay in any way. Please be advised that any seller fees due to eBay will immediately become due and payable. EBay will charge any amounts you have not previously disputed to the billing method currently on file. You are required to verify your eBay account by following the link below:

    We appreciate your support and understanding as we work together to keep eBay a safe place to trade. Thank you for your patience in this matter. Respectfully, Trust and Safety Department eBay Inc.

  2. Dear PayPal Customer, During our regular update and verification of the accounts, we could not verify your current information. Either your information has changed or it is incomplete. If the account information is not updated to current information within three (3) days, then your account will be set on hold. Log into your account by clicking on this link: http//www.paypal/aw-cgi/webscr. After you have logged in, update and verify your information please.

    Thank you for your patience as we work together to protect your account.

    The PayPal Team.

Sample #1:
"Is this Mr. Smith? I'm calling from XYC Bank. Do you have a mastercard / debit card? I need to verify your account number because it appears that someone may be fraudulently charging purchases to your account. Can you read me the account number and expiration date on the front? OK, now the last four digits on the back..."

Sample #2:
"Good morning, Mr. Jones. I represent the security department of XYZ Bank and our records show that your ATM card has been compromised and in order for XYZ Bank to unlock your card please verify your sixteen digit card number..."

Sample #3:
"This is Officer Jones calling from the Federal Consumer Agency. Are you Joan Doe? We have received several reports of telemarketing fraud involving attempted withdrawals from bank accounts in your area. In order to safeguard your account, we need to confirm your account number..."

Courtesy of First Northern Bank & Trust.

If you have any questions, please contact the Bank and ask to speak to the Bank's Security Officer or the Bank's ATM Department.