PIERRE, S.D – Attorney General Marty Jackley is reminding consumers to be cautious of an identity theft scam known as “phishing.” In a recent data security breach, hackers obtained credit account numbers, names and contact information such as email addresses. The company reports that Social Security numbers, birth dates, card expiration dates and the three-digit codes were not compromised.
Even though hackers might not initially gain all the information they need to access consumer funds, they might have enough contact information to elicit more information through targeted attacks to get that information from you.
“Hackers may well send phishing messages to your email address asking for sensitive information that could lead to identity theft and fraud,” states Jackley. “A scam artist will go as far as to act as a representative of a legitimate financial institution just to obtain this information for their own financial gain.”
The best way to protect yourself from phishing scams is to avoid supplying personal information to an email request. If the request is legitimate, the company's customer service department should be called to verify the request before providing any of your personal information. Contact the customer service department by using the phone number located on the billing statement or the back of the credit card. Do not use any number provided in the email. Even if the request is legitimate, you should manually enter the required address in the browser rather than clicking on a link. This will ensure that you are connected to the correct website.
Consumers should follow these tips to prevent phishing schemes:
- Do not follow a link to a secure site from an email; always enter the URL manually.
- When logging in to perform online transactions, always enter the website address directly into your browser. Do not enter your bank account number, social security number, credit card number or any other personal information in a web page that you were linked to through an email or text message.
- A legitimate financial institution or entity will not ask you to provide personal identifying information in an email or ask you to verify personal identifying information in an email.
- If you are worried about your account, do not respond to the email, text, or automated call. Instead, call your financial institution or entity directly from the phone number you have from your personal records, bank statement, phone book or Internet search.
- Use a phishing filter.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software; use a firewall and update them regularly.
- Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them.
- If you suspect that your password on a website has been compromised, call the company immediately to change your password.
If you have been a victim of this scam or need additional information about this scam contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1983 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Thursday, June 16, 2011
CONTACT: Sara Rabern, (605) 773-3215