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WASHINGTON – NCUA and the federal bank and thrift regulators released a brochure last week in an effort to educate consumers on what to do in the fight against Internet “phishing.” “Phishing” refers to Internet thieves `fishing’ for personal financial information online through a variety of methods. One common phishing scam uses e-mails that appear to be authentic but are not; they often describe a situation requiring immediate attention and warn the account will be terminated if the consumer does not do as they are told in the e-mail. From this, criminals can glean a person’s account numbers or passwords. “The federal financial regulatory agencies want consumers to know that they should never respond to such requests,” a news release read. “No legitimate financial institution will ever ask its customers to verify their account information online.” The brochure also advises consumers: * 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 www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT. The brochure is available at NCUA’s Web site (www.ncua.gov), as well as the other federal financial institution regulators’ sites.

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