BE ON THE ALERT FOR SUSPICIOUS
PayPal sent an email requesting an update on
account information due to a supposed security
breach that could cause a loss of access. Or so
it seemed. Unfortunately the e-mail was not from
PayPal. Filling out the phony form handed over
private financial information to cybercriminals.
Phishing, identity theft through an email or Web
site that seems to be legitimate, is used by
scammers to get personal information from
individuals and use it for fraudulent purposes.
Phishing and financial fraud have become a
challenging part of the financial services
industry. In Florida, financial institutions
larger amounts each year
for recovery from financial scams.
Scammers pretend to be banks or actual
businesses such as PayPal. The emailers use
logos and messages that look and sound
authentic, and request personal information such
as addresses, Social Security numbers, debit
card numbers, personal identification numbers
and telephone numbers.
Though some of the phishing emails can be fairly
sophisticated, misspelled words and poor grammar
are signs that the messages are counterfeit.
Plus, a legitimate organization would not ask
for information such as PINs over the internet
or the phone.
Despite warnings, consumers can fall for the
phishers' scams. Victims should take protective
steps by telling credit bureaus of possible
identity theft to avoid the compromise of
The Fraud Hotline at the Social Security
Administration and the Federal Trade Commission
Identity Theft Hotline should both be notified.
Watch for unauthorized charges on credit card
statements and check for fraudulent accounts
that may have been opened in the victim's name.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the
Fair Credit Billing Act limits the liability for
unauthorized credit card charges to $50 per
Liability for debit card charges depend on how
quickly the loss is reported. Unauthorized
transactions reported within two business days
limit losses to $50. Reporting between three and
60 days raises the liability to $500 and after
60 days the entire amount becomes the
responsibility of the victim.
Phishing may make consumers hesitant to use
online banking but it actually can help find
fraud faster because accounts can be checked