If you receive an e-mail from someone or some company that you trust or have a relationship with asking for any type of personal information, think twice before automatically responding and hitting the send button.
The Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado, Call for Action, the Federal Trade Commission and Visa USA have begun an education campaign to help consumers “cut the line on phishing scams.”
Phishing is an e-mail scam in which fraudsters attempt to convince consumers to reveal personal information – such as their credit or debit account numbers, checking account information, Social Security numbers and banking account passwords – through official-looking, but fake, Web sites or in a reply e-mail.
According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, phishing scams grew 178 percent from March to April.
Many financial institutions use e-mail to communicate with customers. And those e-mails direct recipients to the company’s Web sites where customers may be asked to enter personal information as part of registering for a service such as online banking or access to account information. However, if the e-mail wasn’t initiated by the consumer, the consortium says that it is a good idea to go directly to the organization’s Web site by entering the site’s address (URL) rather than linking to it from an e-mail.
Ken Hunter, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus said that consumers should follow a simple rule: “When in doubt, delete.”