The Pamphleteer

During colonial times in America, if you wanted to convince or inform people about some issue that you considered important, you went to the local printer and got some pamphlets printed. You then handed them out, read them to anybody that was interested, nailed them to the town bulletin board, or the nearest tree. The first amendment was specifically written to protect this type of activity and the writers or "pamphleteers".

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Sunday, September 19, 2004
Protect Yourself on the Internet

(From Pamela, our correspondent in Bay Ridge.)

Federal Bank, Thrift and Credit
Union Regulatory Agencies Provide
Brochure with Information on
Internet "Phishing"

The federal bank, thrift and credit
union agencies today announced the
publication of a brochure with
information to help consumers
identify and combat a new type of
Internet scam known as "phishing."

The term is a play on the word
"fishing," and that's exactly what
Internet thieves are doing--fishing
for confidential financial
information, such as account
numbers and passwords. With enough
information, a con artist can run
up bills on another person's credit
card or, in the worst case, even
steal that person's identity.

In a common type of phishing scam,
individuals receive e-mails that
appear to come from their financial
institution. The e-mail may look
authentic, right down to the use of
the institution's logo and
marketing slogans. The e-mails
often describe a situation that
requires immediate attention and
then warn that the account will be
terminated unless the e-mail
recipients verify their account
information immediately by clicking
on a provided link.

The link will take the e-mail
recipient to a screen that asks for
account information. While it may
appear to be a page sponsored by a
legitimate financial institution,
the information will actually go to
the con artist who sent the e-mail.

The federal financial regulatory
agencies want consumers to know
that they should never respond to
such requests. No legitimate
financial institution will ever ask
its customers to verify their
account information online.

The brochure also advises

Never click on the link provided in
an e-mail if there is reason to
believe it is fraudulent.

The link may contain a virus.

Do not be intimidated by e-mails
that warn of dire consequences for
not following their instructions.
If there is a question about
whether the e-mail is legitimate,
go to the company's site by typing
in a site address that you know to
be legitimate.
If you fall victim to a phishing
scam, act immediately to protect
yourself by alerting your financial
institution, placing fraud alerts
on your credit files and monitoring
your account statements closely.
Report suspicious e-mails or calls
to the Federal Trade Commission
through the Internet at , or by
calling 1-877-IDTHEFT.

The interagency brochure is
available on each agency's web site
and financial institutions are
encouraged to download the
camera-ready file for use in their
own customer-education programs.


Federal Reserve Susan Stawick 202-452-2955

FDIC David Barr 202-898-6992

NCUA Cherie Umbel 703-518-6330

OCC Kevin Mukri 202-874-5770

OTS Erin Hickman 202-906-6677