KeyBank customers targets of fraud

Posted: Tuesday, January 04, 2005

There is some "phishing" going on around the Kenai Peninsula. And it is not people casting their lines in the river hoping for a king salmon.

An e-mail has been circulating with KeyBank's logo on it requesting vital information, such as Social Security and account numbers, from customers. And it is not real.

"Phishing" is the term given to the practice of sending fraudulent letters hoping to obtain people's identity information, said Lisa Roberts, relationship manager for KeyBank in Soldotna.

The fraudulent letter said there was a security breach at the bank and asked recipients of the message to visit a Web site requesting their Social Security number and account number, Roberts said. She said the Web site looks a lot like the company's real online service.

"I'm quite shocked at how good it (the letter) is," she said.

She said usually, phishing e-mails can be identified by misspelled words and funny wording because they are often sent by foreigners.

Providing personal information opens people up to identity theft, Roberts said. If an account number is given and a problem arises, the account holder can change accounts, but a Social Security number is much more difficult, she said. I

f information falls into the wrong hands, it is important to monitor credit reports, she said.

If fraud is suspected on an account, as the e-mail letters tell people there is, then the bank would make contact with the customer by telephone, Roberts said. The bank would not ask for information over the Web because they already have that information, she said. If telephone contact was not made, the bank would send a letter through the postal service. The bank would never ask for personal information by e-mail, she said.

If a telephone call is received from the bank and the customer is suspicious, Roberts suggested they ask for the employee's name and offer to call them back.

A variety of banks have been misrepresented with this e-mail, said Kristine Hold-ridge, assistant vice president for business banking for KeyBank.

The matter has been reported to the local and state police, she said.

Roberts did not know how many people received the message. She said the bank is requesting that all of the e-mail messages be forwarded to the bank so they can find their origin.

If you think you have been a victim of fraud, call the KeyBank's fraud hot line at (800) 433-0124.

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