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The FTC Warns of Phishing Scams Related to Bank Failures

The Federal Trade Commission has recently put out a warning that scammers have been using the wave of recent bank failures as an opportunity to con unsuspecting people out of their private information.

Financial institutions are falling in these difficult economic times, and the bank you've done business with all your life may have a new name by Wednesday. Consumers may be confused about who they'll be doing business with next, and these ruthless scammers have used the confusion to their advantage in phishing scams.

The phishers may send you an official-looking e-mail, claiming to be the financial institution that acquired your bank. They'll tell you to click on the link to go to their website. Clicking the link will redirect you to the scam artist's site, where they'll try to get personal information such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, social security numbers, passwords, or other sensitive information. They may ask you to "validate," "update," or "confirm" your account information.

They'll give you a good story, one that actually sounds believable. They may claim that they need this information for your security, for your protection, for your safety. They may claim that they need to verify some of the account information that they received from your previous financial institution. Whatever they claim, they are bogus, and only trying to steal your identity so they can fraudulently use your current accounts or open other accounts in your name.

And though phishing scams with fraudsters claiming to be a financial institution is the most recent FTC warning, keep in mind that phishing bait can be cast as any entity. Earlier this year, phishers claimed to be from the IRS, luring unsuspecting consumers with the words "tax rebate."

And last year, the creeps pretended to be the FTC - the government agency that works to protect consumers from fraud. Talk about being bold, but that's how these cons work - they work to get your confidence and then take your money (or your account numbers) with them.

Take these precautions against phishing scams as recommended by the Federal Trade Commission:

Don’t reply to emails or pop-up messages that ask for your private information. Clicking on links or cutting and pasting the address in the message may redirect you to the scammer's site; they can make it look like you're going to a financial institution's site, and they'll try to steal your personal or financial information. And remember, these guys are professional bad guys, so it will look convincing - don't fall for it!

Some scammers call with a recorded message, or send an email that claims to be from a bank. They'll tell you to call a phone number to update your account. Don't do it! Only call your financial institution at the number they've provided on your financial statements.

Keep your computer protected with up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall.

Don't send any of your private information, including account numbers or personal identifying information, by email; it's not a secure way to send sensitive information.

Check your bank and credit card statements every month for unauthorized activity and report it to your financial institution immediately.

Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain viruses or other software that can weaken your computer’s security.

Any phishing emails should be forwarded to – and to the institution or company impersonated in the phishing email. You also may report phishing email to The Anti-Phishing Working Group, a consortium of ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies, uses these reports to fight phishing.

If you’ve been scammed, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft website at for important information on next steps to take.

For more tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information, visit

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Sunday, 12 July 2020

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