The most common types of online fraud are called phishing and spoofing. Phishing is the process of collecting your personal information through e-mails or websites claiming to be legitimate. This information can include usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc. Often times the e-mails directs you to a website where you can update your personal information. Because these sites often look “official,” they hope you’ll be tricked into disclosing valuable information that you normally would not reveal. This often times, results in identity theft and financial loss.
Spyware and viruses are both malicious programs that are loaded onto your computer without your knowledge. The purpose of these programs may be to capture or destroy information, to ruin computer performance or to overload you with advertising. Viruses can spread by infecting computers and then replicating. Spyware disguises itself as a legitimate application and embeds itself into your computer where it then monitors your activity and collects information.
Fraudulent “Pop-up Windows” are a type of online fraud often used to obtain personal information. They are the windows or ads that appear suddenly over or under the window you are currently viewing. Fraudulent websites or pop-up windows are used to collect your personal information. Other terms for the fraudulent process of gathering your personal information include “Phishing or “Spoofing.” Additional links to real websites can be incorporated into the email to lead you to believe the email is legitimate.
Fraudulent websites, e-mails or pop-up windows will often:
- Ask you for personal information (Account number, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, etc.).
- Appear to be from a legitimate source (Retail Stores, Banks, Government agencies, etc.).
- Contain prizes or other types of certificate notices.
- Link to other real or counterfeit websites.
- Contain fraudulent phone numbers.
Pop-up windows are often the result of programs installed on your computer called “adware” or “spyware.” These programs look in on your Web viewing activity and regularly come hidden inside many free downloads, such as music-sharing software or screen savers. Many of these programs enable harmless advertisements, but some contain “Trojan horse” programs that can record your keystrokes or relay other information to an unauthorized source.
How can I protect myself?
With the proper precautions you can help protect your Hoosier Heartland State Bank accounts and personal information from harmful pop-up windows.
1. Know the Scams
- Phishing, Spoofing, Pop-up Fraud – types of online fraud used to obtain personal information.
- Trojan Horse – Virus that can record your keystrokes. It can live in an attachment or be accessed via a link in the email, website or pop-up window.
- Counterfeit Websites – URLs that forward you to a fraudulent site. To validate a URL, you can type or cut and paste the URL into a new web browser window and if it does not take you to a legitimate web site or you get an error message, it was probably just a cover for a fraudulent web site.
2. Activate a pop-up window blocker.
There are free programs available online that will block pop-up windows. Be sure to perform an Internet search for “pop-up blocker” or look at the options provided by major search engines. You will need to confirm that these programs are from legitimate companies before downloading. Once you have installed a pop-up blocker, you should determine if it blocks information that you need to view or access. If this is the case, you should consider turning off the blocker when you are on Web sites you know use pop-up windows to provide information you need or want to view.
3. Scan your computer for spyware regularly.
You can eliminate potentially risky pop-up windows by removing any spyware or adware installed on your computer. Spyware and adware are programs that look in on your Web viewing activity and potentially relay information to a disreputable source. Perform an Internet search for “spyware” or “adware” to find free spyware removal programs. As with a pop-up blocker, you will want to be sure that your removal program is not blocking, or removing, wanted items, and if it is, consider turning it off for some websites.
4. Avoid downloading programs from unknown sources.
Downloads may contain hidden programs that can compromise your computer’s security. Likewise, email attachments from unknown senders may contain harmful viruses.
5. Keep your computer operating system and Internet browser current.
6. Keep anti-virus software up-to-date.
Anti-virus software needs frequent updates to guard against new viruses. Select a reputable provider. Download the anti-virus updates as soon as you are notified that a new program update is available, or flag your program to download and install the updates automatically if that option is available.
7. Keep your passwords secret.
Change them regularly, using a mixture of numbers and characters.
True electronic safeguards include that our customers understand the frauds, how they happen, how it affects you and what tools and solutions Hoosier Heartland State Bank has to assist you.