A. Phishers have access to hundreds of thousands of email addresses they have obtained through illegitimate means. They use these email addresses to blanket an area with scam emails with the intent of getting people to provide personal information on a web page that is designed to look like a banks’ official website. They use phone numbers to send out scam phone calls claiming to be the bank. If the phishers get personal information they use it to create fake identities and phony credit cards.
2. Q. How did they get my email address?
A. They acquire email address from a variety of sources. It could be through emails that are sent, group emails, registration forms etc. These addresses are collected (harvested) by spammers who use them for a variety of spam related emails. These harvested addresses are sold and resold amongst the pharmers and phishers. Your email address and thousands of others are then used to blanket an area. They do not have any knowledge that you are a bank customer. They are saturating a geographic area that they know would naturally have a bank’s customers in it.
3. Q. How did they get my phone number?
A. Lists of phone numbers are computer-generated using area codes and 3-digit phone/cell phone numbers exchanges common to a geographic area. Then a computer is used to send out the calls, which usually will ask the recipient to call another number in an attempt to obtain personal information.
4. Q. Why can’t the bank stop these emails and calls?
A. The bank can not stop these emails and calls from being sent because they originate from individuals or groups who set up counterfeit websites and phone numbers and then send out email/phone scams. As soon as we learn about the suspicious sites, we work with web hosting services to have these sites shut down. We work with phone companies to have the phone numbers shut down. However, very often these individuals or groups have created multiple fake websites and phone numbers and as soon as one is shut down they open up another and then send out new emails and calls.
5. Q. Why do scammers send out these types of emails?
A. After they get an identity or card (credit, debit) information from people, such as name, address, account number, social security number, birth date, etc. they take this information and sell it to other scammers. These scammers use the information to create fake identities or phony cards that are then used for the purpose of getting money.
6. Q. How do I know if an email is fake?
A. The bank will never ask its customers for any personal information through email. If you have any concern over whether or not the email or phone call is actually from the bank, do not respond to them, but call the bank directly at 518-584-5844. Suspicious email and phone numbers can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org
7. Q. What can I do?
A. We encourage our customers to be proactive. Report to us any email they feel is suspicious. As always monitor your accounts and credit reports closely.