Internet Pirates are trying to steal your personal financial information. Here's the good news: you have the power to stop them!
1. Never provide personal financial information, including your Social Security number, account numbers, or passwords either over the phone or the Internet if you did not initiate the contact.
2. Never click on the link provided in an email you believe is fraudulent. It may contain a virus that can contaminate your computer. Do not be intimidated by an email or caller who suggests dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify financial information.
If you believe the contact is legitimate, go to the company's Web site by typing in the site address directly or using a page you have previously book marked, instead of a link provided in the e-mail.
What to do if you fall victim:
Contact your financial institution immediately and alert it to the situation.
If you have disclosed sensitive information in a phishing attack, you should also contact one of the three major credit bureaus and discuss whether you need to place a fraud alert on your file, which will help prevent thieves from opening a new account in your name.
Here is the contact information for each bureau's fraud division:
P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634
Report all suspicious contacts to the Federal Trade Commission through the internet at www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT.