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Phishing Scams On The Rise

Phishing Scam Basics
by Michele Petry

Phishing scams target consumers who trust that the email they receive represents a bona fide request for information. PayPal and eBay customers have been two of the most popular targets of phishers, but more and more often these days, customers of financial institutions have become targets.

The scams begin with an official looking email which is a request for personal information from unsuspecting consumers. Many consumers believe the official looking request and provide details of their financial information which in turn is used by the scammer to commit fraud.

Phishers go to great lengths to make the request look legitimate. In the latest email we received this weekend, the email appears to be from Citibank, however upon closer inspection the hidden address line actually shows a juno email address.



Scammers have also been known to use domain names that appear to be legitimate. A phishing scam targeting VISA customers used a domain name similar enough to the legitimate domain, visa-security.com, so that end-users were tricked into believing the request originated from their credit card company.

Educating your customers is the key to preventing these types of scams. Here are a few tips to help:

  • Make your customers aware of how you will communicate with them. If you choose to permit e-mail correspondence, consider using digital signatures to sign your email. Then educate your customers on how to discern an email that has been legitimately signed.
  • Provide a link for your customers to file a report of any email request that falsely appears to originate from your institution.
  • Monitor DNS registrations for domains that are closely related to your domain and consider purchasing those domains if available.
  • Monitor the latest phishing scams. Anti-phishing.org maintains an archive of known phishing scams.

Related article:
Phishing Scams Continue Around the Globe
Information Security Involves Customer Service, Too: Is your call center staff prepared?

First published on BankersOnline.com 01/12/04

First published on 01/12/2004

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