October 2012 Hurricane Sandy Potential Scam Alert
A major storm such as hurricane Sandy, provides the perfect backdrop for fraudsters to take advantage of not only our curiosity about the event, but also our desire to help in some way by donating money to a charity designed to assist the victims. Fraudsters may infect legitimate web sites and search results with malware designed to steal your information and/or your money. They may also send fraudulent emails requesting donations to relief organizations or promoting videos or pictures of the disaster. Emails about these types of news breaking events will often contain embedded links or attachments that the fraudster hopes you will click on or open. A newer tactic, similar to the fraudulent emails, which may also be used, is fraudulent text messages.
To protect yourself from these types of scams:
- Exercise caution when surfing the web.
- Visit only trusted news sites.
- Only click on search results for sites you know.
- Be wary of unsolicited attachments, even from people you do know.
- Keep software up-to-date. This includes your operating system, applications, and security-related software.
- Trust your instincts – if an email or email attachment seems suspicious, don't open it.
- Save and scan all attachments before opening them.
- Turn off the option to automatically download attachments.
- View emails in "plain text." (Available in your email viewing options.)
- Apply additional security practices such as filtering certain types of attachments and using a firewall.
- If you do want to make a donation, do it through an organization that you know and trust.
Tips to help protect you:
Education is your best defense – know what to look for and what to do. To find out more about how to protect yourself from fraud, visit the Privacy & Security Center at www.53.com/security, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) at www.us-cert.gov, or the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) "Be Crime Smart" web site at www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/.
If you need assistance or discover any suspicious online sites, emails, or other fraudulent activity involving your account, please call a Fifth Third Customer Service Professional at 1-800-676-5869. They are available to serve you Monday through Friday 8 AM–9 PM ET and Saturday through Sunday 8AM–5 PM ET. You may also contact us securely via our website 24 hours a day, seven days a week.