Ken Paxton

Do Not Respond to Requests to "Verify" Personal Financial Information

Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Consumers report to our office that they have received e-mails that appear to be from online banking or payment processing entities such as Citibank, PayPal, and eBay. The e-mails suggest that the consumers' information must be "updated" or "verified." These messages are attempts to steal your personal financial information and possibly take money from your account. This kind of scam, where trickery is used to try and get you to divulge critical information, is called "phishing."

Be suspicious of any communication that solicits sensitive information such as PIN and credit card or bank account numbers. The real companies do not contact customers in this manner. Do not use links provided in these e-mails, as they may lure you to phony, look-alike Web sites that exist solely for the purpose of stealing your identity. When in doubt, contact the real company by telephone or by entering their web address yourself in the location bar of your browser. Don't be caught by "phishing!"