FBI warns of New Email Banking Scam

Winston-Salem, NC 3/30/2012

Some crafty criminals are aiming to steal one of the most valuable pieces of your personal property: your banking information.

In a new warning, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warns account holders of a new spam email scheme that involves a type of malware called "Gameover." The scheme involves fake emails from the National Automated Clearing House Association, the Federal Reserve or the FDIC. These messages attempt to trick recipients into clicking on a link to resolve some type of issue with their accounts or a recent ACH transaction. Once you click on the link, Gameover takes over your computer, and thieves can steal usernames, passwords and your money.

The FBI also warns the thieves' hacking capabilities can navigate around common user authentication methods banks use to verify your identity, which is certainly a cause for concern. Those additional authentication steps -- often personal questions, birth dates or other pieces of private information -- are meant to provide some extra security padding.

While phishing scams are nothing new to the world of online banking, this type of warning serves as a reminder of just how susceptible account holders can be to malicious attacks. As more account holders begin to jump on the mobile banking bandwagon, it's important to remember that a smartphone essentially acts as another computer. While this additional connection to the Internet is convenient, it also serves as another outlet where your information can be compromised.

Here are a few crucial steps to take to avoid falling victim to this type of Internet crime.

  • Keep your computer and mobile device updated with the newest versions of anti-virus software.
  • If you have any doubts about an email sender's authenticity, do not click on any embedded links.
  • Remember, banks never request any personal information via email.
  • Be vigilant about checking your account balances. The sooner you notice and report any type of fraudulent activity, the more likely you'll be able to be reimbursed for any missing funds.

Have you ever fallen victim to an online banking attack? If so, do you have any tips for other readers to avoid the trap?  Please contact us with any questions.

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