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Phishing or spoofing occurs when criminals send email messages that appear to represent a legitimate business such as a bank or retailer. Their goal is to trick you into providing confidential information such as account numbers, passwords, card numbers, and PINs. Criminals who obtain this information use it to engage in financial fraud or steal your identity. Flagstar Bank will never ask you to send confidential information via email.
Fraudulent emails are hard to detect because they use an address, style, wording, logos, and graphics that make them look legitimate. Often, these emails include links to fake websites or launch pop-up windows that are used to collect personal information.
Phishing has expanded to phones. Automated phone dialers and voice over IP phone systems are easy to set up and provide criminals with alternatives to email-based phishing.
Voice phishing occurs when you receive a phone call with an automated message instructing you to call another toll-free phone number. The claim is that you must call to address an urgent matter, such as preventing your account from being closed. When you return the call, you are asked to reveal personal information.
Fax phishing occurs when you receive a fax instructing you to send personal information to a designated number in order to address an urgent matter such as preventing your account from being closed. The tone of a phishing fax is similar to email phishing messages. Flagstar Bank will never ask you to send confidential information via fax.
Pop-ups are advertisements that appear in small pop-up windows when you visit a website. These ads are designed to integrate with the Web page or to look like legitimate programs. When you click on some of these pop-ups, you may unknowingly download and install viruses, spyware, or other malicious software. Flagstar will never display a pop-up message asking you to verify your personal information.
Spyware and viruses are malicious programs that are installed on your computer without your knowledge. Viruses can damage your operating system while spyware may allow thieves to steal confidential information stored on your computer.
Keyloggers and Trojans allow criminals to gain access to your computer. Often, they are embedded in free software that you download from the Internet. Only download software from companies and websites that you trust.
Fraud may extend beyond e-mail and the Internet right to your own computer. Take these steps to prevent others from gaining access to your personal computer: