Detecting a Breach In Security
Credit card users are usually very good about keeping up with security information regarding their accounts. With the always looming threat of a potential security breach, both merchants and those in the credit card processing industry also pay close attention to security. For credit card users, one of the best ways to remain on top of any changes or threats in security, it is important to pay attention to correspondence from your credit card company as well as the information which appears on your statements. This would seem to be a fairly easy task, considering the various ways in which we can now access our account information. Unfortunately sometimes the very thing which makes something easy also makes it easy to overlook.
Recently a friend received a message via their mobile device with the subject line reading “An Important Message Regarding Your Account”. This individual routinely checks their statements for suspicious activity and also receives the occasional phishing email. Almost deleting the message before reading, they decided to go ahead and see if the email was legitimate. It is a good thing they did as they learned of a potential security breach through a third party credit card processing company, which may compromise some of their account information.
In this instance the credit card account owners were notified of the breach and given steps to follow to ensure their information remained safe. There may be situations where the breach is not immediately spotted which could delay notification often resulting in fraudulent charges or other negative consequences associated with compromised security. There is also the chance that a security breach does not compromise specific credit card information however the names and email addresses of account holders may be compromised. This gives a potential thief all the information needed to launch a full scale phishing scam.
To avoid becoming the victim of a fraudster trying to collect important private information consider these tips which may be a sign of a phishing scam.
- Request for personal information- Never, ever reply to a request for personal information via an unsolicited email. Legitimate companies including your bank, credit card issuer and any other business will never request personal information via email. This includes a request to confirm account information.
- Follow links to other web pages- Phishing emails often contain instructions to click on a “link” which directs you to another web page. This web page is not authentic and may be used to collect private information. Do not click on links or enter any information requested.
- Be wary of errors- Take note of any typos or grammatical errors which would not be consistent with an email from a authentic sender.
- Generic salutation- Does the email address you by name or “Dear (company name) customer”? Phishing scams may or may not use your full name, however a legitimate email from a company with which you have an account should use your name.
- Wrong email address- Is the email address in the “To:” section yours? If you do not recognize the email, this might be part of mass generated email with forged addresses.
These are just a few of the signs the email you have received may be part of a phishing scam. To ensure your credit card information always remains protected, learn how to protect yourself from these and other scams which may result from a breach in security.