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Spoof Websites, Phishing & Vishing - What Are They?

Beware of emails, text massages and automated phone calls asking you to update your personal information. This type of scam is referred to as 'phishing' (pronounced 'fishing'). 

How It Works 

A criminal initiates an email, text message or automated phone call with a seemingly legitimate message that directs consumers to a website or to call a phone number in order to validate or update their personal information, such as account numbers, Social Security Numbers, passwords, etc. These “spoof” websites and phone numbers are setup for the sole purpose of stealing the consumer's identity and assets or engaging in other illegal acts. 

The perpetrators go to extreme measures to convince the consumers that it is a legitimate message from someone with whom they already do business, such as a bank. The fraudsters usually refer to some kind of technical data loss or clerical error which has rendered the customer's account unusable until they respond to the message. Online fraud techniques used are false "from" addresses or a seemingly legitimate bank logo, web link, or graphics lifted from the actual bank's website.

Tips to Avoid the Scam

  1. If you receive any communication that warns you, with little or no notice, that an account of yours will be shut down or "frozen" unless you reconfirm your billing or account information, do not reply to the communication or click on any links within the communication. Instead, contact the company cited by using a telephone number or website address you know to be genuine.
  2. Avoid emailing personal and financial information. Before submitting financial information through a website, confirm that you are on a secured web page: 
    • Look for the padlock in the lower right (Internet Explorer) corner of your browser window;
    • Look in the address window above, the letters https:// should appear in front of the address of the form screen (instead of the non-secure http:// address) 
  3. Legitimate websites maintain current certificates for secure pages or applications (see #2 - padlock or https). To authenticate the site's secure web page, follow these steps: 
    • On the secure web page, click on the File menu and go to Properties
    • Click on the button at the bottom of the screen called 'Certificates' - it should include the web address (URL) with which the security certificate was issued and the validity dates.
  4. Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances. To report unauthorized transactions on your Landmark Bank accounts, call our Fraud Department at (866) 256-8700 or email the department at
  5. Report suspicious activity to the Federal Trade Commission. Send the actual spam to If you believe you've been scammed, file your complaint at, and then visit the FTC's Identity Theft website (  to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from identity theft.
  6. Report the phishing attack to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center, at
  7. Visit to learn other ways to avoid email scams and deal with deceptive spam. The Federal Trade Commission works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid such practices. 
  8. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit or call toll-free (877) FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: (866) 653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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