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Updated 11:30 AM December 6, 2004
 

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  Phishing scams
Recent bank e-mails are fraudulent, DPS warns

Multiple fraudulent messages that appear to be sent by financial institutions, including TCF Bank and Citi Bank, recently have been sent to many U-M e-mail accounts.

The e-mails request users to update or provide personal information, and they often contain logos that help make the messages look official. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) warns that these e-mails are a type of fraud commonly called "phishing scams." Other fake origination sources of recent phishing scams have included eBay, PayPal and various lottery sites.

Some people at the University recently were victimized by these scams and have had money withdrawn from their bank accounts. They currently are working with their financial institutions and police to resolve the situations.

DPS reminds e-mail users that financial institutions do not request information via e-mails that require following a link to another site. Responding to such requests could put an account at risk, or the phishers could open new accounts with the stolen identity.

To determine if the e-mail request is legitimate, contact the bank either in person or by telephone before responding via
e-mail to verify the need for the information. This extra step can prevent lost money and more problems with possible identity theft.

DPS advises against providing personal information to any requestor, such as a social security number, account number or personal identification number, unless it is a business transaction the person has initiated. They also say to review bank statements regularly to monitor for unauthorized withdrawals.

If you suspect that unauthorized activity may have occurred, immediately contact your bank's loss prevention or security department and the police.

For more tips on avoiding identity theft, go to http://identityweb.umich.edu.

For more information from the Federal Trade Commission on phishing scams, see http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/phishingalrt.htm.

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