Computer Crime Research Center


US banks issue phishing scam warnings

Date: November 18, 2005

First Tennessee Bank says it has learned about a new round of phishing e-mails targeting its customers and other consumers in Northeast Tennessee.

Phishing generally involves setting up a copy of a legitimate Web site then sending out e-mails to lure consumers to the site and requesting that they provide information such as their account numbers, passwords or Social Security numbers.

"This is what has happened to our Web site in the past few days. A criminal has copied parts of our Web site and has sent e-mails to a list of customers and consumers in the area requesting that they log onto the site and provide their personal information," said Kip Parks, corporate security investigator for First Tennessee. "We have received a number of inquiries from both customers and non-customers in the area asking about the bogus e-mails they have received."

First Tennessee Bank does not request that customers divulge their personal information by logging onto a separate Web site over the Internet. Consumers are advised to ignore the e-mails and delete them immediately.

First Tennessee is asking consumers to access their account only through the home page of its official Web site at

"We already have the information we need to do business with our customers," Parks said. "We would advise anyone who isn't a customer of First Tennessee to be cautious about sharing personal information over the Internet."

First Tennessee advises customers and consumers to:

•Delete any suspicious e-mail immediately and do not respond.

•Do not reply or visit Web sites included in e-mails warning that accounts will be shut down unless billing information is confirmed.

•Be alert to e-mails using non-personalized greetings such as "Valued Customer" or "To Whom It May Concern."

•Contact the company cited in the e-mail message using a telephone number or Web site you know to be genuine.

•Before submitting personal and financial information through a Web site, look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status bar, which signals your information is secure during transmission.

•Inform family, friends and co-workers about the current phishing scams.

•Review account activity on a regular basis and report any discrepancies.

•Report suspicious activity to the Federal Trade Commission at
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