Warning: Financial crisis is a goldmine for online criminals

Criminals are taking advantage of the confusion over recent bank mergers in the United States to send out fake e-mail messages in an attempt to steal your personal information.


You’ve probably heard of phishing scams: fraudulent e-mail messages or fake Web sites designed to steal your identity. Scam artists “phish” in an attempt to persuade people to disclose sensitive information.


According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, new bank merger scams might say something like this:


“We recently purchased ABC Bank. Due to concerns for the safety and integrity of our new online banking customers, we have issued this warning message… Please follow the link below to renew your account information.”


Or this:


“During our acquisition of XYZ Savings & Loan, we experienced a data breach. We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below to confirm your identity.”


If you click these links, you might be taken to a fake Web site designed for the purpose of identity theft.


For more information about this scam, see Consumers Warned to Avoid Fake E-mails Tied to Bank Mergers.


To help avoid phishing scams:


  1. If you think you’re received a phishing scam, do not respond to it.

  2. Approach links in e-mail with caution.

  3. Don’t trust the sender information in an e-mail message.


For more guidance see:


About the Author
Eve Blakemore

Group Manager, Trustworthy Computing

Eve Blakemore is a Group Manager for Trustworthy Computing who delivers consumer guidance around the latest trends in security and privacy. Eve joined Microsoft in 1998 and has worked in corporate and field roles with Microsoft Learning, US Public Sector, Read more »