Consumer Information on Phishing
According to the Federal Trade Commission, "phishing" is a scam where Internet fraudsters send spam email messages to lure unsuspecting victims to provide personal and financial information (credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security Number, passwords, or other sensitive information). Some examples of phishing language:
- "We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity".
- "During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn't verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information".
These types of messages claim to be from a business or organization that you may have a relationship with, such as a bank, online payment service, or even a government agency. The message may ask you to "update", "validate", or "confirm" your account information. The messages direct you to a website that looks just like a legitimate site, but it isn't. It's a bogus site whose sole purpose is to trick you into divulging personal information so the operators can steal your identity and withdraw money, run up bills or commit crimes in your name.
Attackers could lure clients and consumers to malicious websites through scare tactics and phishing attempts. These sites will look legitimate and offer a tool or download to determine if your information has been compromised. For our valued clients and their consumers, please note the following:
- Epsilon will never offer a download tool or a link to determine if your information has been affected. All communication will be conducted with our clients through normal business channels.
- Epsilon will never ask you to validate who you are by requiring you to reveal personal information to access a web page or download. At no point should you divulge your personal information, such as bank account information, license or ID numbers, Social Security Numbers, or Credit Card information to gain access to your personal information.
- Do not follow links from unsolicited emails, even when they appear to come from a person or organization you are familiar with. If you are unsure of the authenticity of an email communication, call the organization in question directly or access their page by typing the URL into your browser.
To Avoid Getting Hooked:
- Don't reply to email messages that ask for personal or financial information. Delete any emails that ask you to confirm or divulge your financial information. Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via email. If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization mentioned in the email using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new internet browser session and type in the company's correct Web address yourself.
- Don't email personal or financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information. If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or financial information through an organization's website, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser's status bar or a URL for a website that begins "https:" (the "s" stands for "secure"). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive — regardless of who sent them.
- Don't cut and paste a link from the message into your Web browser — phishers can make links look like they go one place, but that actually send you to a different site.
- Check the "from" field. Phishers can easily spoof authentic email addresses, making it appear that an email is coming from an authentic, trusted sender, but checking the "from" field can at least help you identify unsophisticated phishers. If the "from" email contains excessive characters, has spelling mistakes, or does not share the same domain as the company (e.g. "@companycustomershelp.com" (illegitimate) vs. "@company.com" (legitimate) you might have found a phish).
- Look for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. A lot of phishing activity originates from outside the U.S. where English is not the first language; so when these emails are crafted, there are often grammatical errors or spelling mistakes — errors your real bank would never make in a professional customer email.
- Some scammers send an email that appears to be from a legitimate business and ask you to call a phone number to update your account or access a "refund." Because they use Voice over Internet Protocol technology, the area code you call does not reflect where the scammers really are. If you need to reach an organization you do business with, call the number on your financial statements or on the back of your credit card.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall, and update them all regularly. Some phishing emails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the internet without your knowledge. Anti-virus software and a firewall can protect you from inadvertently accepting such unwanted files. Anti-virus software scans incoming communications for troublesome files. A firewall helps make you invisible on the internet and blocks all communications from unauthorized sources.
- Forward phishing emails to firstname.lastname@example.org — and to the legitimate company that is being misrepresented in the phishing email. You also may report phishing email to email@example.com. The Anti-Phishing Working Group, a consortium of ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies, uses these reports to fight phishing.
- If you've been scammed, visit the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft website at ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft2012 and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission at ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org.