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Financial Institution Letters

Internet Banking Fraud

FIL-103-2004
September 13, 2004


TO: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
SUBJECT: Interagency Informational Brochure on Internet "Phishing" Scams
Summary: The federal financial institution regulatory agencies have jointly published an informational brochure to help consumers identify and combat Internet "phishing" scams.

The federal banking, thrift and credit union regulatory agencies have published an informational brochure to assist consumers in identifying and preventing a new type of fraud known as "phishing."

The term "phishing" – as in fishing for confidential information – is a scam that encompasses fraudulently obtaining and using an individual's personal or financial information. In a typical case, the consumer receives an e-mail requesting personal or financial information; the e-mail appears to originate from a financial institution, government agency or other entity. The e-mail often indicates that the consumer should provide immediate attention to the situation described by clicking on a link. The provided link appears to be the Web site of the financial institution, government agency or other entity. However, in "phishing" scams, the link is not to an official Web site, but rather to a phony Web site. Once inside that Web site, the consumer may be asked to provide Social Security numbers, account numbers, passwords or other information used to identify the consumer, such as the maiden name of the consumer's mother or the consumer's place of birth. When the consumer provides the information, those perpetrating the fraud can begin to access consumer accounts or assume the person's identity.

The brochure explains the basics of "phishing," the steps consumers can take to protect themselves, and the actions that consumers can take if they become a victim of identity theft. The brochure is available in a downloadable form through the FDIC's Web site at http://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2004/pr9304b.pdf 3,268k (PDF Help) (large file format) or http://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2004/pr9304a.pdf 224k (PDF Help) (small file format).

For your reference, FDIC Financial Institution Letters may be accessed from the FDIC's Web site at http://www.fdic.gov/news/news/financial/2004/index.html . To learn how to automatically receive FDIC Financial Institution Letters through e-mail, please visit http://www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/index.html.

Michael J. Zamorski
Director
Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection

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Attachments: You Can Fight Identity Theft

Distribution: FDIC-Supervised Banks (Commercial and Savings)

NOTE: Paper copies of FDIC financial institution letters may be obtained through the FDIC's Public Information Center, 801 17th Street, NW, Room 100, Washington, DC 20434 (1-877-275-3342 or (703) 562-2200).




Last Updated 9/13/2004 communications@fdic.gov