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Gallagher Urges Consumers to Beware of Sharing Personal or Financial Information

9/17/2003

CONTACT: Tami Torres
850-413-2842

TALLAHASSEE— Recent headlines have been full of news about Internet worms, viruses and holes in computer security. Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher is warning consumers to beware of phone calls or e-mails from people claiming to represent their bank, credit union or credit card company and asking for help in verifying or updating personal account information

"Scam artists are trying to trick consumers into giving out personal and financial information, either over the phone or through the Internet, under the guise of correcting a problem due to a computer virus or to increase security," Gallagher said. "Consumers should directly verify with their financial institution or credit card company that their account information needs to corrected or updated."

Ejemplos recientes incluyen:

· Bank customers receiving e-mails informing them their accounts were placed on hold for security measure maintenance. Los usuarios fueron derivados a un sitio Web falso y se les solicitó ingresar información de la cuenta.


· Credit card customers were sent an e-mail from "customer support," with the bank's e-mail extension, directing them to a web site for a "technical update" to re-activate their account by entering personal information.


· Customers were told their financial institution had lost their online banking user name and password. El email les solicitaba dirigirse al sitio Web y volver a ingresar la información.

A menudo, las estafas consisten en el uso indebido de nombres - que incluye copias completas de sitios Web, logotipos de la empresa, membrete, y otros documentos que parecen oficiales. Los estafadores expertos en computación utilizan trampas sutiles como incluir hiperenlaces que dicen que el cliente está dirigiéndose a un sitio Web cuando en realidad conectan a los usuarios a un impostor.

Gallagher brindó el siguiente consejo para evitar ser presa de estas estafas:

§ First, be calm. It is alarming to hear your account was frozen or your credit card information has been stolen. But by staying calm, you can better assess the situation rationally instead of panicking and following the instructions in the e-mail.

§ Legitimate companies never request such information via e-mail or over the phone. Certain clues can tip you off, such as the return e-mail is a Hotmail or Yahoo-type email address or the web address goes to a bogus web site.

§ If you receive such an e-mail or a phone call, go to the official web site for the financial institution by typing its URL directly in the address bar of your web browser, not by clicking any hyperlink in an email or an address given by the caller. Or, call the financial institution to verify what you have been told.

§ If you're still uncertain, e-mail or call the company's customer support department, and ask them to confirm the authenticity of the request.

Si ha recibido emails o llamadas telefónicas parecidas o sospecha de una estafa, llame a la línea de ayuda al consumidor del Departamento de Servicios Financieros de la Florida al 1-800-342-2762.