Scam artists may prey on consumers’ financial fears - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Scam artists may prey on consumers’ financial fears

Pewaukee (WKOW) -- from WI Credit Union League:  Scam artists paying attention to the news are well aware of the changes occurring in the financial marketplace and may begin to capitalize on that to "phish" for consumers' personal information.

  Phishing is a type of scam used with the intent of capturing personal information through mass messages like emails or advertisements.

  That means consumers need to be wary when receiving emails that ask them to update, validate or confirm account information.

  Consumers could soon see messages like:

"We recently acquired the mortgage on your home and are in the process of validating account information. Please click here to update and verify your information."

  However, no legitimate business - including Wisconsin credit unions or other financial institutions - would ever solicit personal information via phone or email.

  The Federal Trade Commission recommends these tips for consumers:

  • Don't respond to unsolicited emails. Scam artists use emails to direct people to impostor websites - like your credit union's site - that trick consumers into divulging personal information.
  • Verify inquiries by phone. If someone tries to appear legitimate by suggesting you call a number to verify who they are, don't use the number they provide. Look it up; use numbers from your financial statement or the phone book.
  • Update protection software. Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall.
  • Use secure methods to send sensitive information. Email is not a secure way to send sensitive information.
  • Be alert. Review your financial account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges.
  • Don't download files. Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails that you receive, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain viruses or other software that can weaken your computer's security.
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