How to Identify Online Fraud
It's often difficult to tell if an email is legitimate. Scammers have become increasingly sophisticated in creating fraudulent emails and Web sites that look authentic. These emails and Web sites often appear to be from legitimate companies and include images and logos of these organizations. Following are some common characteristics of fraudulent emails and Web sites:
- They have an urgent tone.
They often have a sense of urgency telling clients that if they fail to update, verify or confirm their personal or account information, access to their accounts will be suspended.
- They request your information.
They typically ask for personal or account information such as:
- Account numbers
- Credit and Check Card numbers
- Social Security Numbers
- Online Banking sign on IDs and passwords
- Mother's maiden name
- Date of birth
- Other sensitive information
- They include links that appear legitimate.
They often include links that include a legitimate company's name or Web address. Always type Web addresses into your browser instead of clicking on links.
- They forge sender's email addresses.
The fraudulent emails will disguise or forge the sender's email address so they appear to be from a legitimate company.
- They often have incorrect grammar.
The emails and pop-up Web sites may include misspelled words and incorrect grammar.
How Citizens Bank of Morgantown Helps Protect You
We're committed to keeping your accounts safe from unauthorized access and your identity confidential.
Citizens Bank of Morgantown will never send emails asking clients to provide, update or verify their personal or account information, such as passwords, Social Security Numbers, PINs, credit or Check Card numbers, or other confidential information.
How Scammers Obtain Your Email Address
Many scammers randomly generate email addresses - that's why you may have received fraudulent emails that appear to be from banks you do not have an account with. They also purchase mailing lists, obtain email addresses online from Web pages, chat rooms, online auctions and directories or from illegitimate sources.
Citizens Bank of Morgantown will never trade, rent or sell your personal information - including email addresses - to anyone.
Help Protect Yourself from Online Fraud
There are many things you can do to help secure your identity and your accounts. Here are some tips to follow:
- Look beyond the logo.
To make fraudulent emails or Web sites appear real, scammers often include actual logos and images of legitimate companies. They also convey a sense of urgency, stating that if you fail to provide, update or verify your personal or account information, access to your accounts will be suspended. It's important that you look beyond the logo and not give out your information.
- Use your spam filter.
Many email services now have spam filters that minimize the amount of spam you receive. The filters can help you minimize the number of fraudulent emails in your inbox.
- Type, don't click.
Even if you do open a suspicious email, don't click on any links. By clicking on the links you could unknowingly download a virus or spyware to your computer. Even if you think the email is legitimate, type Web addresses into your browser instead of clicking on links. If the email is from an institution you do business with, use a bookmark that you've already created to visit the company's Web site.
- Change your online passwords often.
The rule of thumb is to change your password every 30 to 60 days. Be creative with your passwords - stay away from obvious passwords like your zip code, year of birth or sensitive information such as your mother's maiden name or your Social Security Number.
- Update your anti-virus and anti-spam software.
By keeping anti-virus and anti-spam software up to date on your computers, you make it more difficult for scammers to access your personal and account information. You can purchase anti-virus and anti-spyware software at major retail stores as well as on the Internet.
Learn More about Online Fraud
You are your own best protection against online fraud. By staying informed, you can help protect your identity and accounts. Also, following are some useful links to learn more about online fraud:
- FTC Spam Web site
- "How Not to Get Hooked by the 'Phishing' Scam"
- "Warning About Recent Fraudulent Email Schemes"
- "Internet Pirates Are Trying to Steal Your Personal Financial Information"
How to Report Online Fraud
If you believe you have provided personal or account information in response to a fraudulent email or Web site, immediately contact a Citizens Bank of Morgantown representative at 304.292.8411.