Knowledge is one of the most effective forms of fraud prevention.
Basic email advice
Never send payment information via email. Information that travels over the Internet, such as email, is not fully protected from being read by outside parties.
Your card issuer will never ask you to provide any kind of confidential or financial details via an email request.
The most common email scam, phishing emails appear to be from businesses alerting you to customer account problems and requesting financial information verification. Phishing attempts to trick consumers into revealing personal information such as their credit or debit account numbers, checking account information, Social Security numbers, or banking account passwords, through fake Web sites or in a reply email.
If you receive an email that appears to be from your card issuer requesting financial information or any other personal data:
NOTE: If you have received an email that appears to be from Community Bank requesting financial information or other personal data, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to notify CB of the specifics of the fraudulent email.
Treat the email with suspicion.
Do not reply to the email or respond by clicking on a link within the email message.
Contact your card issuer as soon as possible to report the suspicious email. Use the number or Web site address on the back of your card or on your monthly statement.
Trojan Horse virus
What’s a Trojan Horse virus?
A Trojan Horse is an email virus usually released by an email attachment. If opened, it will scour your hard drive for any personal and financial information such as your social security, account, and PIN numbers. Once it has collected your info, it is sent to a thief’s database.
What you can do:
Beware of emails from addresses or persons that you are not familiar with, especially if they contain attachments. Delete the email right away. Do not “unsubscribe.” This will tell the culprit that your email address is active. Even if a good friend has sent the email attachment, it doesn’t hurt to ask them about it before opening it.
Nigerian scam, also known as the ‘Advance Fee Fraud’, ‘419 Fraud’
This scam involves letters, faxes or emails inviting individuals to participate in a scheme that eventually turns out to be non-existent. Many versions claim to be from a government official who needs help distributing millions of dollars from their country, in return for a percentage of the money. Recipients are requested to provide bank account details, and to forward money to pay for ‘advance fees’, documentation, and administration expenses.
Spyware is software that consumers unknowingly install, usually packaged with other software, that can track online usage and personal information. Most spyware programs are simply used by companies to track the online activity of users. According to the FTC, you should look for these clues to determine if your computer has spyware:
What you can do
A sudden increase in pop-up ads
A browser that takes you to sites other than those you type into the address box (also called hijacked browser).
Sudden or repeated changes in your computer’s home page.
The appearance of new or unexpected toolbars or icons.
Keys that suddenly don’t work.
Sluggish or slow performance when opening programs or saving files.
You can be proactive in preventing spyware software from being installed on your computer. Read the fine print before downloading any software, even from reputable companies. If you do not understand it, find the contact number for the company to get more information before downloading.
Think you have spyware? Here's what you can do:
Make sure you have the most current operating system and Web browser software—and use free software patches available that fight spyware.
Free software is great, but make sure you obtain it only from sites you know and trust, especially since many free applications bundle other software that may include spyware.
Know your software
Read licensing agreements carefully—if it’s hard to understand, don’t download the software.
Use browser protection
Make sure you select the highest security setting possible on your browser to prevent unauthorized downloads.
Clicking on links within pop-ups can install software on your computer. Get rid of pop-ups by clicking the “X” icon on the title bar.
Beware of anti-spyware offers
Some links in spam that claim to prevent spyware actually installs it.
Install a firewall
Your best line of protection, a personal firewall will stop uninvited users from accessing your computer.
Get anti-spyware software from a vendor you know and trust.
Scan your computer with it, at least once a week.
Delete any programs your anti-spyware software detects.