Fraudsters phishing for victims keep changing their tactics, and consumers and the financial institutions that serve them need to remain vigilant, according to the Identity Theft Assistance Center in Washington, D.C.
E-mails, phone calls and text messages are all used to try to capture account numbers, PINs and other identifying information, the advocacy and education group said, adding the following reminders:
Be suspicious of any unsolicited e-mail or text message seeking personal information.
Avoid filling out forms in e-mail messages that ask for personal information.
Always compare the link in the e-mail to the link that you are actually directed to.
Log on to the company's official website, instead of linking to it from an e-mail.
Contact the business that sent the e-mail to verify it.
"These are sophisticated scams that exploit consumers' fears that their account has been compromised. Because the messages look real and create a sense of urgency, it's easy to be fooled," said ITAC President Anne Wallace.
"Stop and think before you respond to a request for personal information. And if you think you've been scammed, call your financial services company immediately so they can help protect your account," she said.
The organization also recommended reporting phishing e-mails to the Anti-Phishing Working group, the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI.