It’s unsettling enough that the number of failed banks in the U.S. has reached 140 so far this year, but scammers now are capitalizing on that bad news with a new round of phishing e-mails that appear to come from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The e-mails falsely warn customers that their bank is failing and that the FDIC is about to seize control of its assets.
The e-mail steers consumers to a phony “FDIC” website. Consumers are then prompted to enter account numbers and other data to provide everything thieves need to drain cash from their accounts.
Another variation of fake FDIC e-mails was circulating in late October. It warned banking customers that their institution was going under and prompted them to download a file that would check the amount of their deposit coverage.
The file actually contained malicious software to allow cybercrooks to collect their account information.
The FDIC has posted warnings to consumers about such phishing attempts, emphasizing that it does not issue unsolicited e-mails to consumers.
As we reported previously, phishing attempts of all stripes are up by nearly 600 percent this year, so it’s crucial to avoid clicking on links, downloading files or responding in any way to unsolicited e-mails, text messages or phone calls that purport to be from government agencies, financial institutions or any business asking for financial or personal information such as your Social Security number, birth date or your mother’s maiden name.
Instead, contact the agency or business yourself directly at the phone number listed in the phone book or on your account statement to verify that any such requests are legitimate before handing over any sensitive data that can be the key to your bank account or identity theft.—Andrea Rock