Remember to stop and think before you connect!

Phishing is when criminals try to trick you into revealing personal information thru email, instant messages and social  networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.  They use the information for various scams including identity theft.  The thief behind a phishing email could be looking for your credit card, bank account or social security numbers the user name and password you use to log into your email or online financial accounts or other personal identifying information such as your name address and date of birth.  Don’t take the bait, if you do, thieves may use your information to steal your money or identity.  Damaging your credit and creating a trail of wreckage that can take years to sort through.  Or they may secretly send spam or viruses from your email address to your family and friends landing you in the dog house and possibly locked out of your account.

The thieves behind phishing emails pretend to be a person or organization that would already have your information.   such as a bank, credit card company, e-bay, PayPal, an IT Administrator or even the IRS.  The message may tell you to verify your account or confirm your billing information.  Don’t take the bait!  Remember to stop and think before you connect.  While legitimate organizations may request information from you at times, they would never ask you to reveal it through an email or instant message.  When in doubt, connect to the organization in question through a safe channel.  Call the customer service number from a recent statement or the back of your bank or credit card or type the legitimate website address into your browser.  Don’t ever call the numbers, click the links or fill out forms in suspicious messages.

You can rest assured that we will never request that you reveal your personal information thru email, instant messages or social networking sites.  If you know or suspect someone is posing as Patterson State Bank to gain your personal information, please call us immediately at (985) 395-6131.

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