What is phishing?
Phishing usually comes in the form of fraudulent emails that appear to come from legitimate sources. These ask customers to verify personal information or link to counterfeit Web sites that appear real.
Often these emails request that you click on links that will redirect you to a fraudulent website. This site is often a direct replica of the Internet banking log-on screen. Once you’ve entered your details on the fake website the fraudsters then use your log-on details to defraud you.
Although it appears as though the institution being mimicked is at fault, these businesses have nothing to do with these criminal acts.
Protect Yourself Against Phishing
Watch for emails that:
- Urge you to act quickly because your account may be suspended or closed, or to update your personal information.
- Don't address you by name, but use a more generic one like "Dear valued customer."
- Ask for account numbers, passwords, Access IDs, or other personal information.
Tips to prevent against Phishing:
- Meetinghouse Bank will never ask that you send, update or confirm personal and secret information like PINs or passwords via an email or over the telephone. If such a mail appears in your mailbox, please ignore and delete.
- Only enter your Internet Banking through our official websites for example www.meetinghousebank.com Never enter Internet banking via links in emails or other webpages.
- Do not make use of public access points such as Internet cafés or any computer that is not your own when doing your banking.
- Be very careful with downloading files and attachments from these emails as these documents may contain spyware, viruses and other damaging software.
- Look out for masked URLs in emails, in other words URLs that look authentic, for example say meetinghousebank.com but that are hiding the real URL behind them. The safest way to check if the URL has been masked is to right click on the link and select “edit hyperlink,” the true URL sitting behind it will be revealed. Check the root domain of this link, if it is masked, you will see that it has nothing to do with a legitimate company and will actually take you to a fake site.
- Read the emails carefully. There are often grammatical and spelling mistakes in these fraudulent mails.
- Protect your computer with a firewall, spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Do some research to ensure you are getting the most up-to-date software, and update them all regularly to ensure that you are blocking from new viruses and spyware.
- Check your online accounts and bank statements regularly to ensure that no unauthorized transactions have been made.
Beware of pop-ups and follow these tips:
- Never enter personal information in a pop-up screen.
- Do not click on links in a pop-up screen.
- Do not copy web addresses into your browser from pop-ups.
- Legitimate enterprises should never ask you to submit personal information in pop-up screens, so don’t do it.
Also, beware of phone phishing schemes. Do not divulge personal information over the phone unless you initiate the call. Be cautious of emails that ask you to call a phone number to update your account information as well.
If you become a victim, contact:
- The fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus
- The creditors of any accounts that have been misused
- The local police to file a report.
- The bank to cancel existing accounts held in your name and re-open new accounts with new passwords.