Online scammers are taking advantage of tough economic times. While e-mails phishing for sensitive data are nothing new, scammers are taking advantage of upheavals in the financial marketplace to confuse consumers into parting with valuable personal information.
The Federal Trade Commission urges caution regarding e-mails that look as if they come from a financial institution that recently acquired a consumer’s bank, savings and loan, or mortgage. In fact, these messages may be from “phishers” looking to use personal information – account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers – to run up bills or commit other crimes in a consumer’s name.
Consumers are warned not to take the bait. The FTC has advice about how to stay on guard against this type of scam. To learn more, see the consumer alert “Bank Failures, Mergers and Takeovers: A ‘Phish-erman’s Special,’” at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt089.shtm.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
(FYI bank phishing)