Just a warning!!
I know most of us are savvy enough to realize there are lots of scammers trying to get personal information by sending notices that look very, very real. Some of them even use my name! I've received many of these in the past and I never respond, even to the legitimate ones. I always sign off and then type the URL from my Rolodex in the address box or select from my bookmarks. This morning I signed on to my email and there was a notice from ABC First Bank** ...or so it seemed. I was tired and I have a headache. I didn't stop to think I wasn't signed onto the address I use for personal business transactions and account access. The sender was firstname.lastname@example.org This wasn't a simple email with a logo, but a picture with a man relaxing at his desk, almost identical to their actual notices. It appeared to be as far from fraud as one can get, that is, except it was exactly that ---- FRAUD!
The message said that my account access had been locked because of an incorrect amount. That could mean anything. What threw me is that they not only provided a link, but also a toll free customer service number to call. Obviously these maggots are sitting by a phone waiting for Mrs. Smith to call and furnish them with the information they're hunting for, unaware that someone plans to steal her identity or go shopping with her credit card number!
Of course I called ABC First, since when I signed onto my account it looked just fine to me. Nothing was "locked" and my last payment had been processed on time. The real customer service rep gave me an email so I could forward the notice to the company. I'm sure they get hundreds or even thousands of them every day.
I posted this because, if you knew me, you'd know that I'm one of the most suspicious people around when it comes to the internet and email, but I almost fell for this one! Just don't ever use a link or even a toll free number provided if you get an email from your bank or credit card company. Use the number on the back of your card as I did and, if you do use online access, don't use any links sent to you. Just answering one of these phishing emails lets the sender know you actually do have a credit card and/or bank account or simply that you exist. A friend has been playing with those scammers who say she's won the lottery and I warned her not to answer them, since now they know that's a valid email address. The best thing is to forward the email to the Fraud Department (I'm not sure if they do anything with it) and delete the email. If you get a lot of them, change your email address. As I said before, I created an address I use only for business transactions and use the other for general email.
**Note: I made up the name. If I write Bank of America or Capital One, then I'm contradicting myself by saying not to tell people online what credit cards you use!