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Beware of Phishing

Con artists now use email to try to hijack your personal financial information. In a scam known as "phishing," swindlers claim to be from a reputable company and send out thousands of fake emails in hopes that consumers will respond with the bank account information, credit card numbers, passwords or other sensitive information.

These emails can look quite convincing, with company logos and banners copied from actual Web sites. Often, they will tell you that their security procedure has changed or that they need to update (or validate) your information, and then direct you to a look-alike Web site. If you respond, the thieves use your information to order goods and services or obtain credit.

How to Beat the Bad Guys

Try to determine if the email is real.
  • First, is the email addressed to you, or a more general "account user."
  • Never click on a link in an email unless you're expecting the email.
  • Don't access accounts by clicking on an email link, go to their official website.

To avoid becoming a victim of a phishing scam, the American Bankers Association offers these tips:

  • Never give out your personal financial information in response to an unsolicited phone call, fax or email, no matter how official it may seem.
  • Do not respond to email that may warn of dire consequences unless you validate your information immediately. Contact the company to confirm the email's validity using a telephone number or Web address you know to be genuine.
  • Check your credit card and bank account statements regularly and look for unauthorized transactions, even small ones. Some thieves hope small transactions will go unnoticed. Report discrepancies immediately.
  • When submitting financial information to a Web site, look for the padlock or key icon at the bottom of your browser, and make sure the Internet address begins with "https." This signals that your information is secure during transmission.
  • Report suspicious activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.
  • If you have responded to an email, contact your bank immediately so they can protect your account and your identity. For information on identity theft, visit ABA's Consumer Connection.
  • For more information on phishing, visit the following sites:


 
 
 
 
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