Fraud Alert: Some credit union members in Canada the subject of PHISHING emails

June 3, 2010

A rapidly growing form of Internet fraud is a practice known as "PHISHING."

Recently some credit union members have received emails that purportedly come from their credit union or one of its partners. These fraudulent emails PHISH for information, asking for personal identification such as your debit card number, PIN and/or Online Banking password. This fraud can lead to identity theft and financial loss.

PHISHING emails typically include upsetting or urgent statements to get people to react immediately. If you get an email that warns you that an account of yours will be shut down unless you reconfirm your information, do not reply or click on the link in the email.

How does PHISHING work?

The goal of criminals that send PHISHING emails is to lead consumers to believe that a request for information is coming from a legitimate company.

The e-mail messages direct victims to fraudulent websites that look exactly like your financial institution's website, where you are asked to enter personal and financial information.

Because the PHISH sites look entirely legitimate and the request appears to be coming from a trusted financial institution, victims enter their credit card numbers, Social Insurance Numbers, credit union/bank account information and address, phone number and e-mail details.

Any information entered into the PHISH site is captured by a criminal who will steal the victim’s identity to acquire new credit cards, redirect mail and open bank accounts in the victim’s name.

Even if a fraudulent website doesn't ask for information, it may contain spyware. By simply clicking on one of these PHISHING sites you may introduce a Trojan Horse virus that installs itself on your computer without your knowledge, and can track any typing you do, including when you enter your passwords and banking information. The Trojan horse spyware sends this information back to the criminal.

Teach yourself, your friends and family "PHISH" sense

  • Be suspicious of any e-mail with urgent requests for personal financial information. Outlook Financial and any other reputable financial institution or credit card company will not request personal or financial information in this manner. If you receive this type of e-mail or any other like it, simply delete the e-mail. Do not reply to emails that request your personal information.
  • Don't use web page links in an e-mail if you suspect the message, e-mail or website might not be authentic.
  • Avoid filling out forms in e-mail messages that ask for personal financial information.
  • Protect your computer with up-to-date antivirus software, spyware filters, email filters and firewalls.
  • Always ensure you're using a secure website when submitting sensitive information over the web.
  • If you receive an e-mail from Outlook Financial that looks suspicious, feel free to call an Outlook Financial representative at 1.877.958.7333 to confirm whether or not it is legitimate.

 For more tips to protect your privacy and security online, see our What you can do page.

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