Monday, November 19, 2007

Bank warns of e-mail scam


Bank officials are warning Santa Barbara residents about an e-mail “phishing” scam that asks for personal account information.
Users of AllTime Treasury, a banking option through Pacific Capital Bancorp, which operates branches including Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, received an e-mail asking them to follow a link and confirm their account information.

“Everybody needs to understand that we would never, ever e-mail any of our customers asking for personal information,” said Debbie Whiteley, senior vice president of Pacific Capital Bancorp.
Whiteley said an e-mail warning describing the scam has been sent out to AllTime Treasury users, but said it is also an important message to get out to the entire public.
“The problem is these things look very real,” she said. “They are very sophisticated and people just need to keep in the back of their mind that a bank would never ask for personal information in that manner.”
The scam e-mail appeared to come from the Pacific Capital Bancorp Support Department, informing recipients that they had noticed an issue with their account concerning unauthorized use.
“Be sure to log in securely by hyperlink below,” the e-mail read. “Once you log in, you will be provided with new account design and steps to confirm your account access. We appreciate your understanding as we work to ensure account safety.”
In July, the Anti-Phishing Working Group received 23,917 unique scam reports. Whiteley recommended calling any bank or organization that requests personal information in an e-mail to report a possible scam and check on the legitimacy of the request.

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