Emails purporting to be from financial institutions continue to surface on the world wide web. These "phishing" scams bait unsuspecting users into clicking on links to allegedly update or verify their information. In fact, you are not connecting to the financial institution's site at all if you use the supplied link. Instead, you are going to a site the scammer has set up to get your personal information, such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, passwords, etc. The scammers send these same emails to millions of email addresses on the premise that at least a small percentage of those people will have an account with the financial institution and therefore believe it is legitimate. Some of these scams even offer money if you complete their "survey." Rest assured, these offers are 100% bogus. They want your personal account info, and the promised money is just a come on to get you to supply it. DON'T!
Samples of recent phishing scam emails are shown below. If you receive something similar, do not click on the supplied link as it will take you to a site set up by the scammer.
***Sierra Central would never request that you update or verify your account information via a link or attachment supplied in an email***
[START OF PHISHING EMAIL EXAMPLE #1]
Dear Sierra Central CU client,
We are sorry to inform you that your online payments and transfers services are expired, and must be renewed immediately. If you intend to use this services in the future, and prevent any similarly situations you must take action at one!
To continue click here [link in email goes to fraudulent website] and complete the renew form with your current information.
Many Thanks and Kind Regards - Sierra Central CU Online Department
[END PHISHING EMAIL EXAMPLE #1]
[START OF PHISHING EMAIL EXAMPLE #2]
You have been chosen by Sierra Central Credit Union online department to take part in our quick and easy 5 question survey. In return we will credit $20 to your account - Just for your time!
Helping us better understand how our customers feel, benefits everyone. With the information collected we can decide to direct a number of changes to improve and expand our online service. The information you provide us is all non-sensitive and anonymous - No part of it is handed down to any third party groups. It will be stored in our secure database for maximum of 3 days while we process the results of this nationwide survey.
We kindly ask you to spare two minutes of your time in taking part with this unique offer!
To Continue click on the link below:
SIERRA CENTRAL CREDIT UNION
820 PLAZA WAY
YUBA CITY, CA 95991
[END PHISHING EMAIL EXAMPLE #2]
For details on how you can protect yourself from phishing scams, read our article. Also, check out the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Consumer Alert on phishing.