How to Protect Yourself
Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request
whether it is over the phone or over the Internet. E-mails and Internet pages created by phishers may look exactly like the real thing. They may even have a fake padlock icon that ordinarily is used to denote a secure site. If you did not initiate the communication, you should not provide any information.
If you believe the contact may be legitimate, contact the financial institution yourself
You can find phone numbers and websites on the monthly statement you receive from your financial institution, or you can look the company up in a phone book or on the Internet. The key is that you should be the one to initiate the contact, using contact information that you have verified yourself.
Never provide your password by phone or in response to an unsolicited Internet request
A financial institution would never ask you to verify your account information online. Thieves armed with this information and your account number can help themselves to your savings.
Review account statements regularly to ensure all charges are correct
If your account statement is late in arriving, call your financial institution to find out why. If your financial institution offers electronic account access, periodically review activity online to catch suspicious activity.
What to do if you Fall Victim
Contact your financial institution immediately and alert it to the situation. If you have disclosed sensitive information in a phishing attack, you should also contact one of the three major credit bureaus and discuss whether you need to place a fraud alert on your file, which will help prevent thieves from opening a new account in your name. Here is the contact information for each bureau's fraud division:
- (800) 525-6285
- P.O. Box 740250, Atlanta, GA 30374
- (888) 397-3742
- P.O. Box 1017, Allen, TX 75013
- (800) 680-7289
- P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634
To report fraudulent e-mail
To report phishing
Report all suspicious contacts to the Federal Trade Commission.
Through the Internet