Important Steps for Fighting Identity Theft
There is a type of internet piracy called "phishing." It is pronounced "fishing," and that's exactly what these thieves are doing: "fishing" for your personal financial information. They are looking for account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, and other confidential information they can use to loot your checking account or run up bills on your credit cards.
In the worst case, you could find yourself a victim of identity theft. With the sensitive information obtained from a successful phishing scam, thieves can take out loans or obtain credit cards and even a driver's license in your name. They can do damage to your financial history and personal reputation. But if you understand how phishing works and how to protect yourself, you can help stop this crime.
It is not Arvest policy to send you unsolicited emails asking you to "verify" or "update" information. You will never be asked to go to a website by clicking on a special link to take any action where you type any information. If you get an email that appears like it is from Arvest Bank and is asking you to click a link and enter data, do not respond. If you receive an email like this, please contact the bank to report the fraudulent email.
How Phishing Works
In a typical case, you will receive an email that appears to come from a reputable company you recognize, but may not necessarily do business with, such as a financial institution. The email may appear to come from a government agency. These emails are sent at random to thousands of people at a time, hoping to "hook" a consumer who does business with one of these companies. Because these emails are randomly sent and not as a result of a data breach, you will likely get fake emails from some companies with whom you do not conduct business. The email will probably warn you of a serious problem requiring your immediate attention. It may use phrases, such as "Immediate attention required," or "Please contact us immediately about your account." The email will then encourage you to click on a button to go to the institution's website.
In a phishing scam, you could be redirected to a phony website that may look exactly like the real thing. Sometimes, in fact, it may be the company's actual website. In those cases, a pop-up window quickly appears for the purpose of harvesting your financial information. In either case, you may be asked to update your account information or to provide information for verification purposes (SSN, account number, password, etc.).
If you provide the requested information, you may find yourself the victim of identity theft.
How to Protect Yourself
- Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request, whether it is over the phone or over the internet
- If you believe the contact may be legitimate, contact the financial institution to confirm
- Never provide your password over the phone or in response to an unsolicited internet request
- Review account statements regularly to ensure all charges are correct
- Never click on the link provided in an email you believe is fraudulent
- Do not be intimidated by an email or caller who suggests dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify financial information
- If you fall victim to an attack, act immediately to protect yourself
The Federal Trade Commission recommends that you take additional action and report the incident.
For more information, please review the FTC page on recovering from identity theft or contact them by calling (877) ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338).
What To Do If Victimized
If you have received a suspicious email claiming to be from Arvest Bank asking you to confirm or verify any information by visiting a web page, please visit our Report Fraud page for information on how to notify us.