Banking Commissioner John P. Burke Warns
Of Fraudulent E-Mails Over the Holiday Season

December 1, 2004

During the holiday season, many people are using the Internet to do much of their holiday shopping. Purchasing gifts on-line is very convenient and a great way to buy that hard-to-find gift. However, State Banking Commissioner John P. Burke warns that consumers must be vigilant when shopping via the Internet, and be on alert for fraudulent Web sites and e-mail scams known as "phishing."

Phishing is a high-tech scam that uses spam e-mails - set up to look like they are generated from a legitimate source - to lure unsuspecting victims into providing their confidential financial information. An estimated 50 or so unique phishing scams are sent every day and that total is rising.

"Don't be tricked by an e-mail that appears to have been sent by your bank or credit card company," advises Commissioner Burke. "Banking institutions and on-line retailers DO NOT request their customers provide to them their ATM card numbers, Personal Identification Number (PIN) or other sensitive information over the Internet."

It is often difficult to detect a fraudulent e-mail because the e-mail address of the sender often seems to be genuine as do the design and graphics. Please be aware that fraudulent e-mails often attempt to extract personal information from individuals in two ways. The sender may 1) request a reply or 2) include links to a site that requests the disclosure of personal data. Do NOT reply or click on the links.

If you are the recipient of such an e-mail, DO NOT provide your personal account information. Instead, notify your bank or on-line retailer at once and the institution will work with the Connecticut Department of Banking to investigate these matters. To learn more about "phishing" scams, please visit our Web site.