Protecting Yourself from Internet Fraud
What is “Phishing”?
Phishing (FISH-ing) refers to how thieves steal victims’ personal financial information. They are phishing for information. These con artists pretend to represent a trusted source, like a bank.
What is “Pharming”?
Pharming (FARM-ing) is when criminal hackers redirect Internet traffic from one Web site to a different, identical-looking site in order to trick you into entering your user name and password into the database on their fake site, in order to acquire personal information to access your accounts, steal your identity, or commit other acts of fraud.
How do I protect myself?
The golden rule to avoid being phished is to never hit “reply” or click the links within a suspicious email. If you can tell it’s phishy, always delete the email immediately. The only reason you wouldn’t delete an obvious spoof email right away is because you’re reporting it to the proper authorities. Once you’ve done that, and deleted the phishing email, empty the trash box on your email program as well. If you’re not sure whether the email is legitimate or fake, be suspicious of any emails that request financial or personal information. If you have reason to believe that a financial institution really does need personal information from you, call the company yourself - using the number in your phone book, not the one the email provides. Also, rather than just clicking on the link provided in the email, type the company’s official web address into your web browser yourself.
What should I do if I’ve responded to a phishing email or website?
If you’ve responded to a phishing email and think you may have compromised personal identification or financial information, don’t panic - but you need to act immediately. Notify First National Bank at (715)258-8381, credit card issuers, and credit reporting agencies, and ask them to flag your account and watch for unusual activity.
How do I check to see if I have been a victim of Identity Theft?
Review your credit report. Look over your credit report regularly - at least once a year - for any inaccuracies. You can get a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com . For a small fee you can obtain a copy at any time directly from the credit bureaus:
Equifax: 1-800-685-1111 or www.equifax.com
Experian: 1-888-397-3742 or www.experian.com
TransUnion: 1-800-916-8800 or www.transunion.com
You can file a complaint or learn about ID theft by going to the Federal Trade Commission Website at www.ftc.gov or calling 1-877-382-4357.