Customer Alert: How to Avoid “Phishing” Scams
The number and sophistication of “phishing” scams sent out to consumers continues to grow. “Phishing” is defined as an e-mail sent by a third party pretending to be from a legitimate company such as ProPay in an attempt to collect personal information (social security numbers and passwords) for use in fraudulent activity and identity theft. These e-mails typically try to deceive the customer by imitating the look and feel of the real company.
While e-commerce is generally very safe, you should be careful about giving out your personal and financial information over the Internet.
Propay has compiled a list of recommendations below that we hope will be helpful to you so that you don’t become a victim of this type of scam:
- Be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information
- Unless the email is digitally signed (an electronic signature that can be used to authenticate the identity of the sender of a message), you can't be sure it wasn't forged or 'spoofed'
- Phishers typically include upsetting or exciting (but false) statements in their emails to get people to react immediately
- They typically ask for information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc.
- Phisher emails are NOT typically personalized, while valid messages from your bank or e-commerce company would be
- Don't use the links in an email to get to any web page, if you suspect the message might not be authentic
- Call the company on the telephone, or log onto the website directly by typing in the Web address in your browser
- Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal financial information
- You should only communicate information such as credit card numbers or account information via a secure website or telephone
- Always ensure that you're using a secure website when submitting credit card or other sensitive information via your Web browser
- To ensure that you're on a secure Web server, check the beginning of the Web address in your browsers address bar - it should be "https://" rather than just "http://"
- Regularly check your online accounts as well as bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure that all transactions are legitimate
- Ensure that your browser is up to date and that all security patches are applied:
- Always report "phishing" or “spoofed” e-mails to the following groups:
|If ProPay wanted you to update your information they WOULD NOT:
- Send you an e-mail containing a form to update the info directly in the e-mail.
- Send you to a link where you fill out the information without logging in first
- Require you to login using anything other than your username and password.
- Present you with a blank form and expect you to fill out all your data from scratch.
- Send an e-mail informing you to login to your ProPay account before updating your information.
- Instruct you to type www.propay.com in your browser to ensure that you are going to our true home page.
- Instruct you to login with your username and password only.
- Once logged in offer a link for you to update your information.
- Show you the information we currently have on file rather than presenting you with a blank form.
While spoof e-mails present an increasing threat, there are other ways fraud can occur. The following tips will help you protect your ProPay account and virtually any other online account you have from fraudulent activity.
- Frequently scan for viruses. Grisoft provides an effective FREE virus software. click here
- Frequently check for update patches for your operating system (i.e. windows) and browser.
- Install a firewall. ZoneAlarm provides an effective firewall program. click here.
- Frequently check your account for suspicious activity.
- Frequently change your password and use a unique password for each site.
- Make your password unique. A good password will include a combination of letters and numbers making it hard to guess.