Internet Schemes

On-Line Fraud Is Growing

Internet fraud can be any type of scheme that uses the Internet - chat rooms, email, message boards or websites - to deceive prospective victims. These schemes, scams and frauds take advantage of the Internet's unique capabilities - sending email messages worldwide in seconds or posting website information that is readily accessible from anywhere in the world - to carry out fraud quicker that ever possible in the past. As a bank customer you need to be especially vigilant to some of the newer frauds at work in cyberspace.

Phishing - Fraudulent emails, appearing to be from a trusted source such as your bank, or a government agency, direct you to websites. Once there, you are asked to verify personal information such as name, account and credit card numbers and passwords. These sites are often designed to look exactly like the site they are imitating.

Cyber-Defense Tactics:

If you receive an email that warns you, with little or no notice, that your account will be shut down unless you reconfirm certain information, do not click on the email link. Instead, use a phone number or enter the web address yourself. Clicking on a link that looks legitimate may in fact direct you to a fraudulent website where crooks will steal your personal information. Remember, neither we nor a government agency will never send you an alert asking you to disclose your personal information.

Before submitting any financial information to a legitimate website, look for the "lock" icon on the browser status bar, or look for "https" in the web address. Both are indications that the information is secure and encrypted during transmission.

Spoofing - Web spoofing allows an attacker to create a "shadow copy" of any legitimate website. Access to the shadow web is funneled through the attacker's machine, allowing the attacker to monitor all of the victim's activities, including any passwords or account numbers the victim enters. The attacker can also cause false or misleading data to be sent to web servers in the victim's name, or to the victim in the name of any web server. In spoofing, an attacker gains unauthorized access to a computer or a network by making it appear that a malicious message has come from a trusted machine by "spoofing" the address of the machine. Phishing and spoofing often go hand-in-hand in Internet fraud.

Cyber-Defense Tactics:

  • Be wary of unsolicited or unexpected emails from all sources.
  • If an unsolicited email arrives, treat it as you would a phishing source.

General Tips Against Cyber-Fraud

Don't Judge By Initial Appearances. Just because something appears on the Internet - no matter how impressive or professional the website looks - doesn't mean it's real. The ready availability of software that allows anyone, at minimal cost, to set up a professional-looking website means that criminals can make their websites look as impressive as those of legitimate businesses, banks or governments agencies.

Be Careful About Giving Out Personal Data Online. If you receive emails from someone you don't know asking for personal data - don't send the data without knowing more about who's asking. While secure transactions with known e-commerce sites should be safe, especially if you use a credit card, non-secure messages to both known and unknown recipients are not safe.

Be Especially Wary Of Emails Concealing Their True Identity. If someone sends you an email using a mail header that has no useful identifying data (e.g., That may be an indication that the person is hiding something and is not legitimate. Review Credit Card and Account Statements as soon as your receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges or suspicious charges/transactions. If your statement is late by more than a few days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address/account balances, and determine whether they have mailed your statement.

Watch Out For "Advance-Fee" Demands. Look carefully at any online seller of goods or services that wants you to send checks or money orders immediately to a post office box before you receive the goods or money orders immediately to a post office box before you receive the goods or services you've been promised.

Above All, Use Common Sense.

Consumer Resources

The Internet is a great tool . . . for information, and to conduct on-line business, as long as consumers take appropriate precautions and are aware of the possibility that someone may be trying to scam them. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. The consumer information links below exist to assist customers in locating information and providing guidance on how to file complaints when appropriate.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Response Center

You can file a complaint with the FTC against a company or organization that you believe has cheated you by contacting the Consumer Response Center by phone: toll free 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357) - TTY: 202-326-2502.

Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC)

The IFCC's mission is to combat fraud committed over the Internet through a unique partnership between the National White collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The IFCC website allows consumers to report Internet fraud, among other services.

Consumer Fraud (DOJ/Homepage)

"Fraud" is a link on the Department of Justice's (DOJ) homepage under "Information for Individuals and Communities." FirstGov (Your First click to the U.S. Government)

FirstGov (Your First click to the U.S. Government)

"FirstGov" is a free-access website designed to give a centralized place to find information from local, state, and U.S. government Agency websites. Consumers may call the toll-free number at 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636).

"" is a one-stop" link to a broad range of federal information resources available online.

Social Security Administration, Report Fraud: 800-269-0271

Identity Theft Resource Center, 858-693-7935