Don't get hooked by "phishing" scams
Beware of emails asking for personal information
"We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account.
To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the
link below and confirm your identity."
"During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn't
verify your information. Please click here to update and verify
Have you received an e-mail with a similar message? It's a scam
called phishing (pronounced "fishing") and
it involves Internet fraudsters who send spam, pop-up or even text
messages to lure personal information from unsuspecting victims.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer
protection agency, phishers send a message that claims to be from
a business or organization you may deal with for example,
an Internet service provider, credit union, bank or even a government
agency. The message may ask you to "update," "correct,"
or "verify" your account information. The message may
direct you to call a certain phone number or to go to a web site
that looks like a legitimate organization's site, but it isn't.
It's a bogus site designed to trick you into providing things like
your credit card numbers, account numbers, Social Security number,
passwords or other sensitive information.
First, you should know that Columbus Metro will never request personal
information through e-mail. We will never ask you to "verify"
information in an e-mail. And we will never ask you to click on
a link to a "special" web site to verify or request personal
To avoid becoming a victim of online crime, the FTC offers these
If you get an e-mail or other message that asks for personal
or financial information, do not reply. And don't click
the link in the e-mail, either. Legitimate companies don't ask
for this information via e-mail. If you are concerned about
your account, contact the organization using a phone number
or web address you know to be correct.
Area codes can mislead. Some scammers send an e-mail
that appears to be from a legitimate business and ask you to
call a phone number to update your account. Thanks to Voice
Over Internet Protocol, or VOIP, the area code you call doesn't
necessarily reflect the actual location you're calling. If you
need to reach an organization you do business with, call the
number on your statement.
Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall,
and update them all regularly.
Don't e-mail personal or financial information. E-mail
is not a secure method of transmitting personal information.
If you initiate a transaction and want to provide personal or
financial information through a web site, look for indicators
that the site is secure either a lock icon on your browser's
status bar or a URL that begins "https:".
Review credit card and account statements as soon as you
receive them to check for unauthorized transactions. If
your statement or bill is more than a few days late, call the
company to confirm your billing address and account balances.
Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading
any files from e-mails you receive, regardless of who sent
them. These files can contain viruses or other software that
can weaken your computer's security.
Forward spam that is phishing for information to email@example.com
and to the company, bank or organization impersonated in the
phishing scam. You can send such messages to Columbus Metro
If you believe you've been scammed, visit the FTC's
Identity Theft web site at www.ftc.gov/idtheft
to file a report and for steps you can take to protect yourself
from identity theft.
If you have any other questions about phishing, or have a suspicious
email that appears to be from Columbus Metro, e-mail