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Undersecretary Barbara AnthonyPosted by:
Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation

The Berkshire Eagle reported yesterday an e-mail phishing scam that targeted Legacy Banks customers and non-customers.

“Phishing” scams, involve thieves illegally asking for your personal financial information and then using it to commit identity theft by charging your existing credit cards; by opening new credit card, checking, or savings accounts; by writing fraudulent checks; and/or taking out loans in your name.

In the Legacy case, as is common in e-mail phishing scams, the bogus e-mail included the bank’s logo and other information that gives it the look of a legitimate bank request. In this case, the e-mail asked recipients to send personal data in order to re-open closed accounts.

Banks will never request your personal information by e-mail, text message, or telephone. If you receive that kind of contact from your bank, alert your bank immediately. Make sure if you receive a phone number to call or a Website to visit, that you instead track down the URL or phone number of your bank from your statement, to be sure you are calling or going online to the right location.

Banks have become adept at handling phishing scams that target their customers, and banks will work quickly to notify consumers of the scam. Of course, you might receive a phishing attempt before notice can be sent out. A good general rule: Always make sure you’re dealing directly with your bank or other institution, and never give out personal information unless you have initiated the dialogue.

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Jayda Leder-Luis is the Communications Coordinator at the Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation.

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