Agencies Issue Warnings Over Phishing Scams

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NCUA and the other financial institution regulators issued a letter last week cautioning credit unions and banks of a new Internet scam that has become known as "phishing."

The scam, a play on the word "fishing," amounts to thieves fishing for confidential financial information, such as account numbers and passwords, over the Internet. The information can then be used to access a person's accounts or steal an individual's identity. In a common form of the scam, an individual may receive an e-mail that appears to come from a financial institution that has a link that asks for personal information. The information is actually going to the thieves.

The letter from the regulators explains the phishing scam and warns individuals about the possibility of phony links and not to be intimidated by emails that may threaten dire consequences for not following the instructions. It also tells individuals to alert their financial institutions immediately if they become victims of the scam or suspect an email of being a phishing expedition. Victims are urged to contact the Federal Trade Commission either through the Internet at the website consumer.gov/idtheft, or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT.

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