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Secure Your Personal Finances While Online

Phishing - Avoid Becoming A Victim

Facts you should know.

Criminals are constantly improving their methods of stealing your personal financial information through fraudulent e-mails and web sites designed to appear as though they were generated from legitimate businesses, financial institutions and even government agencies. This criminal activity is known as "phishing." They are literally fishing for your personal information. This information is money in their pockets.

Grammatical errors and poor web site quality used to be common identifiers of these phishing web sites. Errors are not as common as before. Criminals improve their techniques with time, and this is evident in newer phishing messages.

This article will educate you on these scams, provide suggestions on how to avoid becoming a victim, and provide information on steps to take should you become a victim of phishing.

Avoiding the Scams

  • Never provide any personal information to an inquiry that is originated by someone else. Do not respond to email inquiries even if they appear to be from a legitimate source. Capital Bank of New Jersey, or other financial institutions, business or government agency will request you to confirm personal information. Capital Bank of New Jersey, and these other organisations already have that information if you have conducted business with them before. Do not provide social security numbers, account numbers, credit card numbers, passwords, user name, etc

  • Always use a secure web site when submitting credit card or other personal information in transactions that you initiate.

  • Monitor your bank, credit card and other accounts regularly to ensure that all transactions are legitimate.

  • Be suspicious of any email notifications requiring you to act immediately to prevent an account being closed or voided. Don't be intimidated!

  • Protect your social security number.

  • Don't use links that are provided in any suspicious emails.

  • Apply security patches and be sure your browser is up to date.

  • Contact your bank or other business if you become suspicious of any e-mail alleging to come from them.

  • Report suspicious e-mail or phone activity to the Federal Trade Commission by using the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline:
    • By telephone: 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338)
    • Online at http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft
    • By mail at Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission,
      600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20580

  • Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry via the FTC's website http://www.donotcall.gov or via their toll-free hotline 1-888-382-1222

  • The State of New Jersey has a comprehensive Do Not Call website - http://www.state.nj.us/donotcall . The law allows the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs to utilize the New Jersey telephone numbers on the federal “Do Not Call” registry to establish a State-specific no telemarketing call list. That means anyone who has signed up for the federal registry is automatically placed on the State’s list and covered under the law. You are not required to register again with New Jersey. You may contact Consumer Affairs at 888-NJNOCALL (888-656-6225) or log onto http://www.njconsumeraffairs.com for a complaint form.

  • Monitor your credit report at least annually.

Advice for Victims of Phishing

  • Contact your financial institution(s) immediately.

  • Contact one of the three major credit bureaus and request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit reports. Request a free copy of your credit reports. The law allows this free report once a year. Click here for the contact information for Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

  • Using the websites and/or telephone numbers above, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

  • Review all billing and bank statements immediately for accuracy.

  • Close any affected accounts and open new ones.

  • Contact local enforcement and file a police report.

  • Contact the Social Security Administration if your SS number has been compromised. (They have a very useful and informative page regarding Identity Theft and your SS Number.)

  • Document your activity.

Other Scams

  • "Lotteries" or "sweepstakes" advise you that you have won money but they require money from you up front to buy something , or to somehow ensure your chances of receiving your winnings.

  • Buyers of something you have advertised for sale that insist on mailing payment via cashier's check. Many times the check is for an amount larger than the purchased price, and the buyer requests that the overage be sent back to him via money order. The cashier's check is counterfeit.

  • "Sponsors" or "charities" will push for contributions but will be reluctant to provide identifying information about themselves when questioned.

  • The Nigerian and other similar scam letters, e-mails or faxes are from someone purporting to have money in his country that cannot be accessed because of "rules and regulations." You are to be rewarded handsomely for your help getting this money back. All you have to do is to provide your bank account information and money up front to take care of "necessary expenses." You are, of course, asked to keep this plot a secret. Once they have drained all the money they can from you, you never hear from them again.

Protect Your Personal Information.

Criminals want your personal account information and social security number. They can make huge profits at your expense. Don't give them your information, Be suspicious of any electronic messages, phone calls or mail requests that ask for personal data. Find out more about phishing and other crimes at:

 

 

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Fair Credit Report

As a result of a amendment to the Federal Fair Credit Practices Act, consumers nationwide are now able to obtain free copies of their credit histories from the three national credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), once every 12 months, by making a single request.

The address for obtaining your annual credit report by making a single request is:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
www.annualcreditreport.com
1-877-322-8228

You may also contact the credit bureaus individually:

Equifax Credit Information Services
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
www.equifax.com
1-800-685-1111

Experian
P.O. Box 19719
Irvine, CA 92623
www.experian.com
1-888-397-3742

TransUnion
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
www.transunion.com
1-800-916-8800

To protect your rights, you should report any inaccuracies in writing to the credit bureau so that they may be investigated.