Internet Phishing Scams

Internet Phishing Scams

Internet “phishing” scams are one of the fastest-growing frauds today. Phishing typically involves a bogus e-mail message that uses legitimate materials, such as a Credit Union or other organization’s Web site graphics and logos – the “look and feel” – in an attempt to entice e-mail recipients to provide personal financial details, such as account information, credit card and Social Security number.

Financial institutions, government agencies, retailers, credit car companies, and many other organizations have seen their Web site graphics, including corporate logos and other materials “stolen” by fraudsters’ intent on tricking individuals into divulging personal financial information by responding to an official-looking, but entirely bogus, e-mail.

Like many cons and scams, phishing preys on the unwary. Here’s how Credit Union members can fight back against this fraud.

Take some simple precautions

► Never respond to an unsolicited e-mail that asks for personal financial information.

► Report anything suspicious to the proper authorities. Alert the Credit Union or government agency identified in the suspect e-mail through a Web address or telephone number that you know is legitimate.

► Contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center– a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center – if you think you have received a phishing e-mail or have been directed to a phishy-looking Web sitge.

“Stop, Look, and Call!”

► Stop. Resist the urge to immediately respond to a suspicious e-mail – and to provide the information requested – despite urgent or exaggerated claims.

► Look. Read the text of the e-mail several times and ask yourself why the information requested would really be needed.

► Call. Telephone the organization identified, using a number that you know to be legitimate.


If you believe that you have provided sensitive financial information about yourself through a phishing scam, you should:

► Immediately contact those organization for which you provided the information.

► Contact the three major credit bureaus and request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit report. The credit bureaus and phone numbers are:


► File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at or call


Credit Union members should never provide their personal information in response to an unsolicited phone call, letter, e-mail or Internet advertisement.

© NAFCU 2004 Financial Education Corp.