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Palo Alto Area Banks Warn Of New E-mail Scam

By Staff | Dec 1, 2009

Financial institutions are warning their customers to be wary of a new e-mail scam that’s making the rounds during the busy holiday season.

The scam recently came to light after many area residents reported receiving e-mails, purportedly from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC. The e-mail claims that the financial institution which the customer has opened an account with, is on a list of banks that are “failing” and that the FDIC is taking control of that institution’s assets.

The e-mail then instructs the recipient to click on a link that supposedly takes the recipient to the FDIC website, when in reality, the website is actually fake.

When the recipient clicks on the fake FDIC website, they are prompted to enter sensitive information, such as account numbers for checking and savings accounts, and other personal information.

Authorities report that the entire e-mail is completely bogus – nothing more than a “phishing” scam – one where criminals attempt to collect personal information from people that can be used to drain bank accounts without the owner’s knowledge.

Officials of the FDIC state their organization does not send out email messages to private individuals under any circumstances, and anyone purporting to represent the FDIC in such a manner is not legitimate.

Authorities urge everyone to be especially wary of e-mails requesting any type of personal information, and for the sake of safety, to disregard or delete such e-mails.