National Campaign Helps Cardholders Protect Their Identities

Friday 18 June 2004 17:14 CET | News

Visa USA, the Better Business Bureau, Call For Action, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Treasury Department has joined forces to launch a joint education campaign to help consumers cut the line on phishing scams.

During the campaign, Visa, The Treasury Department, the Better Business Bureau, Call For Action and the FTC will educate consumers on how to identify phishing scams; how to avoid becoming a victim; and how to report a suspicious e-mail. Phishing is an e-mail scam in which fraudsters attempt to convince consumers to reveal personal information -- such as their credit or debit account numbers, checking account information, Social Security numbers, and banking account passwords -- through official-looking fake Web sites or in a reply e-mail. According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, phishing scams grew 180 percent from March to April of 2004. Many financial institutions use e-mail to communicate with customers and direct them to their Web sites where the customers may be asked to enter personal information as part of registering for a service, such as online banking or accessing account information. However, if the e-mail wasnt initiated in response to an action by the consumer, its a good idea to go directly to the organizations Web site by entering the Web sites address (URL) rather than linking to it from an e-mail. How to Cut the Line on Phishing Scams Visa USA, the Better Business Bureau, Call For Action, the FTC and the Treasury Department are recommending consumers protect themselves from phishing scams by doing the following: To avoid getting lured into a phishing scam: - Treat unsolicited e-mail requests for financial information or other personal data with suspicion. Unsolicited means the e-mail wasnt initiated in response to an action by the consumer. Do not reply to the unsolicited e-mail or respond by clicking on a link within the unsolicited e-mail message. - Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the e-mail to verify if it is genuine. Visit a secure Web site or call a phone number that you know to be legitimate. - Only enter personal information on a secure Web site that you know to be legitimate. Visa or your card issuer would never ask you to send Social Security numbers, account numbers, passwords, or PINs within an e-mail message. When entering personal data at a Web site, look for a locked padlock in the browser or https at the beginning of the Web site address to make sure the site is secure. - Update anti-virus software and security patches to system software regularly. Phishing emails can contain viruses that may harm your computer if opened. - Be cautious. Check your monthly statements to verify all transactions. Notify your bank immediately of any erroneous or suspicious transactions. - Forward any suspicious e-mails to the Federal Trade Commission at or file a complaint with the FTC at You can also forward unsolicited e-mails claiming to be from Visa or your Visa card issuer to Phishing Education In addition to making comprehensive phishing resources available online, Visa USA, the Better Business Bureau, Call For Action and the FTC will reach consumers in the following ways: - Visa USA will be working with its issuing banks by providing cardholder statement inserts. - The Better Business Bureau system will inform consumers by issuing media alerts through local BBBs, publishing articles in local newsletters and on local Bureau Web sites, and encouraging BBBOnLine participating merchants and other BBB members to link from their Web sites to anti-phishing resources on the site. - Call For Action will notify its network of consumer hotlines and inform consumers through its broadcast network of 24 top-rated radio and television stations, which reaches over 40 million consumers. Call For Action also will help victims of identity theft by providing counselors through a toll-free hotline sponsore

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Categories: Payments & Commerce | Payments General
Countries: World
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