Security Alert Regarding Email, Internet Searching and Facebook – Applies to Home and Work

By Eric Andring, Compliance and Risk Manager, Bell State Bank & Trust

In our ongoing effort to inform you of situations and techniques used by cyber-criminals interested in illegally accessing data, we feel the need to make you aware of a recent spike in the number of attacks on the Internet. Recently, the death of Osama bin Laden has been a source of numerous exploits.

Internet Searches
Computer researchers are saying cyber scammers were quick to set online traps for people searching for and sharing information about bin Laden by using top search results in Google Images, or similar pages, to redirect people to pages filled with malware. (Malware is software intended to damage or take partial control over a computer.) Some malware web pages try to convince users that their computer is already infected with a virus, and then prompt them to pay for and download fake antivirus software. This trap not only tricks people into paying for a service they don’t need, it also puts their credit card information into the bad guys’ hands.

Facebook Scams
There has been a “death video” scam related to bin Laden spreading rapidly on Facebook. Some ads on Facebook promote offers celebrating bin Laden’s death — such as those for free tickets or free sandwiches — but by clicking on the ads, users are redirected to scam-filled pages. As they “like” the ads or click on the fake links, they give online criminals a way to reach their Facebook contacts and spread the scam to their friends. They also help the crooks collect email addresses or other valuable information.

Protect Yourself
To protect yourself at home and at work, we ask that you remain vigilant when reviewing your email and when browsing the Internet. In most cases, the best approach to dealing with suspicious email messages is to simply delete them. When browsing the Internet, take precautions to ensure you are going to a legitimate website when a link is provided.

The main precautions you should take, both in the office and at home, are the following:

  • Do not open email messages or attachments from unknown senders.
  • Do not click on web links from unknown senders.
  • Make sure your antivirus program is up to date.
  • Never reply to unsolicited emails or pop-up websites asking for sensitive personal information.

What if you become a victim?
If you are a Bell State Bank & Trust personal checking customer, and you believe you have fallen victim to fraud or identity theft, contact any Bell State Bank & Trust location. You are automatically covered with our FREE Identity Theft Recovery Program! This program covers any identity theft, such as fraudulent use of your name, Social Security number, bank account, any credit/debit card, or other identifying information—even for non-Bell State Bank accounts and credit cards—with up to $10,000 ID theft expense reimbursement insurance. Plus, a FREE Personal Recovery Advocate assigned to you will manage your recovery plan and contact banks, credit card companies and agencies such as the DMV, Social Security and the U.S. Post Office for you, working on your behalf for as long as it takes to recover your good name.

For more tips on how you can avoid identity theft and fraud, look for the Federal Trade Commission’s online guide, “Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft.”

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