Ways to Spot Fraud
- Fast Facts
- Mail bills from a corner box or the post office
- Reduce or eliminate the use of Social Security Numbers in the office
- Watch your wallet. The stuff in your wallet is a goldmine - not just for the money
Do you know the difference between phishing and pharming? Can you easily detect fraudulent email? These could be signs that your identity may have been stolen.
Ways to Spot Fraud
What is a Fraudulent Email?
Fraudulent email will ask you for personal information. Any reputable business institution will never ask you for any passwords, personal or billing information in an email. Be wary of any email that asks you to:
- Confirm your password
- Verify your password
- Update your personal information or risk freezing or closing your account
Webster Bank will never ask for your account or personal information via email. If you feel that you have received a fraudulent or suspicious email from Webster Bank:
- Forward the email to email@example.com
- Or call Webster Bank's Security Hotline at 1 (800) 966-0256 for further assistance. Specialists are available 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., 7 days a week.
How can you tell if an Email is Fraudulent?
If it looks suspicious to you, it could be fraudulent. For instance, there might be misspelled words in the URL address. Two important ways to detect that an email is fraudulent are: if the email asks you for personal information (asking you to log in to update your account information) or if the email asks you to click on a link to verify your personal information.
What is Phishing
Phishing is a fraudulent email that is sent to trick the victim into providing sensitive personal information that can be used for identity theft. It can be used for identity theft in one of two ways: an email message can lure customers into providing the sensitive information on the spot (e.g., by replying to the email) or by including links to a site that tries to get a customer to disclose personal data.
Scam artists “phish” for victims by pretending to be banks, stores or government agencies. They will contact you by phone, in emails and in regular mail. A legitimate company will not request you to verify your account number, Social Security Number or passwords.
These scams usually show up in your email from the system administrator telling you to complete or update some urgent information on your account.
How Does Phishing Work?
A fake email link may appear to go to a legitimate Web site that looks exactly like the official site. Once you link from the email it may ask you for bank information, your Social Security Number and credit card account numbers. Once this information has been transmitted directly to the person who created the fake Web site, that person can start to steal your identity, open a new credit account and apply for loans, etc.
How do Phishers get Email Addresses?
The scammers create thousands and thousands of email addresses randomly by combining first and last names and well know domain names. They may also use legal and illegal mailing lists. If you ever posted on the Internet to sell something or published something on the Internet your address is already out there waiting to be found. With or without your consent your address may be on a spam mailing list by you responding to an email from a company.
Online criminals are increasing the frequency and sophistication of phishing attacks. Gone are the days when a phishing message was typo-filled and unconvincing. These days, even experts can get snagged. Here are tips to protect yourself:
- Watch out for Phishy Emails.The most common form of phishing is emails pretending to be from a legitimate retailer, bank, organization or government agency. The sender asks you to “confirm” your personal information for some made-up reason. Another tactic phishers use is to say they’re from the fraud departments of well-known companies and ask to verify your information because they suspect you may be a victim of identity theft.
- Don’t Click on Links within Emails that Ask for Your Personal Information. Fraudsters use these links to lure people to phony Web sites that look just like the real thing. If you follow the instructions and enter your personal information on the site, you will deliver it directly into the hands of identity thieves.
- Beware of Pharming In this twist, a virus or malicious program is secretly planted in your computer. It hijacks your browser so when you type in the address of a legitimate Web site, you are taken to a fake one without realizing it.
- Never Enter Personal Information in a Pop-Up Screen. Sometimes a phisher will direct you to a real company’s Web site, but then an authorized pop-up screen created by the scammer will appear with blanks in which to provide your personal information.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your identity without your permission for financial gain, to change their identity, to elude creditors, apply for loans or steal money.
Are there laws against identity theft?
Yes, In October 1998, the United States Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 (Identity Theft Act) to address identity fraud. The act makes it a felony to use another person’s identification with the intent to commit unlawful activity.
Are you Eligible for a Free Credit Report?
Yes, according to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003. U.S. residents are entitled to one free credit report a year from AnnualCreditReport.com.
Should you Change your Social Security Number?
In most cases, getting a new Social Security Number is not recommended. There are drawbacks to changing your Social Security Number. You have had that number for many years and it is attached to many documents including past credit reports. If you receive a new number your old Social Security Number will be attached to the reports with the new number. It might also look suspicious to creditors and employers. The absence of any history under the new Social Security Number would make it difficult to get credit, such as opening a bank account.
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