Phishing is computer or phone fraud that attempts to steal one’s identity. Phishing scams are the fastest growing form of consumer theft in the US. The first target was credit card information. Now other identity information is sought, including online banking.
Numerous efforts are underway to combat phishing. The most effective is client awareness. To our knowledge, AgStar has not been a subject of a phishing attempt. In the event that we are targeted in the future it's good to be aware of how it typically occurs.
What does phishing look like?
Usually phishing begins with an unsolicited email that requests sensitive account information. At first glance the emails appear to be genuine and may include legitimate logos, replicated website design and email addresses that appear to be authentic. They are not.
Phishing may also be a proactive phone call asking you to validate account information, transfers requests, social security numbers, etc. They can also sound very realistic.
*Read this important Security Reminder [PDF] from AgStar regarding phishing.
How can you tell if the contact is legitimate?
First and foremost, we, and any other reputable lender or business, will never initiate a contact to verify account information online or by phone. Businesses have the information needed to accurately and securely service your account.
Look for clues, such as:
- Misspelled words. These are used to get through spam filters.
- Emails you can not reply to.
- Web addresses that closely replicate the original, like agster.com.
- Any phone or email contact that requests account or other personal data like loan numbers, social security numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, etc.
What should you do if you have a concern?
Immediately close the email, web page, or discontinue the phone conversation. Do not follow any instructions provided. Also email AgStarETeam@AgStar.com.
The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) provides information, monitors and works to minimize this consumer theft. Learn more by visiting www.AntiPhishing.org.
Please note: This security information is provided to you solely for informational purposes as a courtesy to our clients. It is not intended to be nor shall it be deemed to be legal, technology or business advice. If you need business, legal or technology advice, you are encouraged to seek the assistance of a qualified professional in that field.