KeyBank VP offers online safety steps

Posted: Thursday, January 06, 2005

You recently published an article about customers receiving what have been called phishing e-mails that claim to come from reputable companies, such as KeyBank ("KeyBank Customers Targets of Fraud," by Mark Quiner, Jan. 5). These e-mails ask recipients to enter personal information, such as credit card numbers, user identification numbers and passwords.

Let me assure your readers that these e-mails are NOT from KeyBank, even though they have all the earmarks of a legitimate e-mail. Instead, they are a clever but dangerous attempt to defraud our clients. The also hurt the good name that we at KeyBank have worked so hard to establish throughout Alaska.

The bad news is that as fraudsters go high tech, they have targeted clients of virtually every financial institution, as well as retailers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The good news is that there are several simple steps that we advise our clients to follow.

First, KeyBank will never ask customers for personal or private information, including passwords, account numbers, Social Security numbers or usernames, via e-mail. Also, KeyBank does not include attachments or provide links to its online banking and investing in e-mail messages.

KeyBank also recommends that readers follow these e-mail practices:

Never open an e-mail attachment unless you know the sender or are expecting it. If the e-mail attachment is from a known sender, always double-check before opening it.

Never provide personal information that is requested through pop-up windows or send it over e-mail.

Never click on Web links in e-mails, even if it comes from a company you deal with regularly. Instead, type the Web address directly into your Internet browser.

Do not use "favorites" to access a Web site where you plan to disclose private information. Rather, type the URL in your browser's address bar when you want to access the site.

If you are unsure whether an e-mail is an authentic one from Key, call us at (800) KEY1KEY to verify.

Readers who want more information about KeyBank's online security efforts can find it on the Internet at www.key. com/phishing and

Gary Koch, Senior Vice President, KeyBank


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