What is "Phishing"?
Internet scammers casting about for people's financial information have a new way to lure unsuspecting victims: They go "phishing."
Phishing is a high-tech scam that uses spam or pop-up messages to deceive you into disclosing your credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information.
How do I identify a Phishing attempt?
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), phishers send an email or pop-up message that claims to be from a business or organization that you deal with, for example, your Internet service provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a government agency. The message usually says that you need to "update" or "validate" your account information. It might threaten some dire consequence if you don't respond. The message directs you to a Web site that looks just like a legitimate organization's site, but it isn't. The purpose of the bogus site? To trick you into divulging your personal information so the operators can steal your identity and run up bills or commit crimes in your name.
How can I protect myself from Phishing?
The FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, suggests these tips to help you avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam:
- If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply or click on the link in the message. Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via email. If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization in the email using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new Internet browser session and type in the company's correct Web address. In any case, don't cut and paste the link in the message.
- Don't email personal or financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information. If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or financial information through an organization's Web site, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser's status bar or a URL for a website that begins "https:" (the "s" stands for "secure"). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phished have forged security icons.
- Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.
- # Use anti-virus software and keep it up to date. Some phishing emails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge. Anti-virus software and a firewall can protect you from inadvertently accepting such unwanted files. Anti-virus software scans incoming communications for troublesome files. Look for anti-virus software that recognizes current viruses as well as older ones; that can effectively reverse the damage; and that updates automatically.
- A firewall helps make you invisible on the Internet and blocks all communications from unauthorized sources. It's especially important to run a firewall if you have a broadband connection. Finally, your operating system (like Windows or Linux) may offer free software "patches" to close holes in the system that hackers or phishers could exploit.
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them.
- Report suspicious activity to the FTC. If you get spam that is phishing for information, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you believe you've been scammed, file your complaint at www.ftc.gov, and then visit the FTC's Identity Theft Web site at www.consumer.gov/idtheft to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from ID theft. Visit www.ftc.gov/spam to learn other ways to avoid email scams and deal with deceptive spam.
Where can I get more information on phishing?
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
At The Bank of Fayetteville, the basis of each customer relationship is trust. We know that whether you are an existing customer, or considering doing business with Bank, you have an interest in how we collect, retain and use information about you and your relationship with us.
Customer Privacy Principles
At The Bank of Fayetteville, we believe the confidentiality and protection of customer information is one of our fundamental responsibilities. While information is critical to providing quality service, we recognize that one of our most important assets is our customers' trust. The Privacy Principles below have been endorsed by the major banking groups, of which Bank is a member. We use these Privacy Principles to guide us in dealing with customer information. Following, is the type of information Bank collects, how it is used, and with whom and under what circumstances it will be shared.
Information We Collect At The Bank of Fayetteville
We accumulate information about our customers from a variety of sources. For loan and deposit accounts, we gather information regarding your financial status, employment, income etc. This information comes from you voluntarily, in person, by mail, or through our web site. Bank develops other data as a function of providing a product or service for you. Additional information is obtained from outside sources, such as credit bureaus and other creditors. We may also obtain demographic and household information about you from specialized firms.
Maintenance of Accurate Information
Bank has established procedures so that a customer's financial information is accurate, current and complete in accordance with reasonable commercial standards. Should you believe that our records are incorrect, please notify us and we will investigate and correct any information.
How We Use This Information
We collect, retain, and use information about you only where we reasonably believe that it will help us to: mitigate potential risks or loss to Bank; protect and administer your records, accounts and funds; comply with certain laws and regulations; help us design or improve our products and services; or understand your financial needs so that we can provide you with quality products and superior service.
Limitations on Employee Access to Information
At The Bank of Fayetteville, employee access to personally identifiable customer information is limited to those with a business reason to know such information, either to assist you in the completion of transactions or in the sale of additional financial services. Employees are educated on the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of customer information and on these Privacy Principles. Because of the importance of these issues, all Bank employees are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of customer information and employees who violate these Privacy Principles will be subject to disciplinary actions
Protection of Information via Established Security Procedures
At The Bank of Fayetteville, we are committed to the privacy and security of your financial and personal information. All of our operational and data processing systems are in a secure environment that protects your account information from being accessed by third parties. We safeguard information according to established standards and procedures.
Restrictions on the Disclosure of Account Information
It is The Bank of Fayetteville's policy not to reveal specific information about customer accounts or other identifiable data to unaffiliated third parties for their independent use, except for the exchange of information with reputable information reporting agencies to maximize the accuracy and security of such information, unless the information is provided to help complete a customer initiated transaction; the customer requests or permits it; or the disclosure is required by or allowed by law (e.g., subpoena, investigation of fraudulent activity, request by regulator, etc.)
We may disclose all of the information we collect as described above to companies that perform marketing services on our behalf or to other financial institutions with whom we have joint marketing agreements. You do not have a right to opt out of the disclosure of this information.
Providing Privacy Information to Customers and Responding to Inquiries
If there are any questions about this Privacy Notice, or a question about the privacy of customer information call The Bank of Fayetteville at (479) 444-4444 or write to us at The Bank of Fayetteville, Compliance Department, One South Block Avenue, Fayetteville, AR 72701.