Protect yourself from fraud.
At Capital One®, we're dedicated to keeping you informed about digital security. The following information may help you identify some of the warning signs of fraud and minimize your potential risk.
Fraud Prevention Topics
Malware is malicious software that is intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems.
How to Prevent Malware Infections from E-mail
More and more, online fraud is the result of malicious software—or malware—that can invade your computer when you open an attachment, click on a pop-up ad, or download a game, song, screensaver, or other application.
Attacks often begin with an e-mail, but the goal is to get you to unknowingly install the malware on your computer. It can then be used to record your key strokes, gather credit card numbers, passwords, and other information and send that data directly back to fraudsters.
Steps to Help Protect Yourself from Malware
- Use the tips listed in the “Phishing” section to spot suspicious e-mails.
- Consider any attachments to e-mail messages as potentially unsafe. They can cause you to download spyware or a virus without your knowledge or any indication that it’s occurring. Capital One® will never e-mail you an attachment or a software update to install on your computer. In general, never open unexpected attachments from anyone.
- Treat all links in e-mails as potentially unsafe. Many fraudulent e-mails contain links that look valid, but those links may send you to a fake site that may or may not have a URL different from the link. If it looks suspicious, don’t click it.
Symptoms of Malware
Malware infections can lead to identity theft and credit card fraud. Many types of malware can operate without ever alerting you that you are infected. Here are three signs that your computer may be infected with malware:
- Computer performance problems—malware can slow down computing and crash your PC because it operates in the background and saps your PC’s resources. If your PC is crashing frequently, it could mean that your computer has become infected with malware.
- Interruptions from pop-ups and spam—adware programs can generate pop-ups that may have malware attached or imbedded in them. So, through the use of adware, fraudsters can install spyware on your computer, take over your browser, or capture your personal information. Fraudsters may use spam e-mail, rather than adware, to accomplish these same results. If you are experiencing frequent pop-ups while browsing the Internet or are receiving a large number of spam e-mails, your computer could be infected with malware.
- Unexplained PC behavior—if your computer is performing actions that you did not initiate, you may be infected with malware. Some common symptoms include new toolbars appearing that you are unable to delete, unexplained changes to homepage settings, and suspicious search results.
Some Effective Defenses Against Malware
- Install recently released security software from a reputable company on your computer, including things like anti-virus protection, personal firewalls, and anti-spyware protection.
- If possible, use one computer for banking and security-sensitive applications and a different computer for less sensitive activities such as e-mail and social networking.
- Keep your software updated, upgrade software to recent versions, and install manufacturer-provided patches. This is especially important for operating systems, Web browsers, and security software, but also applies to other programs.
- Only download programs and files from legitimate sources. It is not uncommon for malware to be embedded within an otherwise legitimate program or file when advertised for free through file sharing networks (such as Bittorrents, Limewire, Megaupload) or other sources not endorsed by the original manufacturer.
Sample of a Fraudulent Phishing E-mail
Phishing is an attempt to acquire personal information, sometimes to compromise online banking accounts by posing as a legitimate company in an electronic communication.
How to Spot a Phishing E-mail
Here are some potential indicators of a fraudulent e-mail:
- Sender’s e-mail address—to give you a false sense of security, the “From” line may include an official looking e-mail address that may actually be copied from a genuine one. E-mail addresses can easily be spoofed, so just because it looks like it’s from someone you trust, you can’t always be sure.
- Attachments—e-mail attachments may be used in fraudulent e-mails and if opened could download spyware or a virus to your computer. Use caution when considering clicking a link or opening an attachment presented in an e-mail. If you receive an e-mail from Capital One with a suspicious link or attachment, do not open it and contact us.
- Generic greeting—a typical fraudulent e-mail will have a generic greeting such as “Dear Account Holder.”
- False sense of urgency—Fraudulent e-mails may threaten to close your account or assess some penalty if you don’t respond right away. An e-mail that urgently requests you to supply sensitive personal information is to be considered highly suspect.
- Typos and grammatical mistakes—such mistakes are a dead giveaway of fraudulent e-mails.
- Fake links—many fraudulent e-mails have links that look valid but send you to a spoofed site that may or may not have a URL different from the link. Always check where a link is going before you click. If the link appears to be suspicious, don’t click it. If the suspect e-mail looks like it came from Capital One, open a new browser window and type https://www.capitalone.com.
How to Report Fraudulent E-Mails
If you believe you have received a fraudulent e-mail that claims to be from Capital One, do not click any links contained in the message and forward the entire e-mail with the original subject line to email@example.com. You may want to sign in to your online banking profile or call Capital One to ensure that there are no issues with your account.
If you have provided personal information or clicked on links in a fraudulent e-mail, follow these additional steps:
- Call us immediately to report that your account information may have been compromised.
- Sign in to Capital One Online Banking and change your password and security questions.
- Check your accounts for suspicious activity.
- Update and run anti-virus software on your computer.
- Social Phishing
Social Phishing is an attempt to acquire personal information, including sign in credentials, via social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
When using social networking sites, you may want to consider the following recommendations:
- Do not use the same sign in information for social networking sites that you use for online banking.
- Ensure that you are on the official social media site and not a spoofed site.
- Be selective in who you grant access to view your personal information online. Review the privacy options that are available and limit information shared with unknown third parties.
- Use caution when clicking links displayed in social media sites, even if they appear to be legitimately shared by a known party.
If you think you have received a suspicious communication that targets you as a Capital One customer from a social media site, please forward the entire communication to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smishing is an attempt to acquire personal information via text messages designed to induce users to reveal personal or financial information via mobile phone.
Smishing is a form of phishing which occurs when a fraudster sends a text message asking you to provide sensitive, personal, or financial information via a web link, website, or telephone number. The messages could appear to come from Capital One or any other company with which you do business. The messages often attempt to alarm the customer and threaten dire consequences if action isn’t taken immediately. The customer is directed to a toll-free number or e-mail link within the text where they are asked to verify sensitive information such as credit card information, Social Security number, bank account number, account passwords, and/or PIN numbers.
Capital One will never ask you to confirm or verify your personal information in an unsolicited text message. While we sometimes require account verification information when you contact us, we will not require such information if we contact you in this manner.
Example of Smishing Message
Capital One Customer. This is to notify that your account has been restricted. To remove restriction, please call back at 1-888-xxx-xxxx. Thank you.
If you receive a text message that you suspect may be a smishing message that targets you as a Capital One customer…
- Do not reply to the message.
- Do not click on any of the links embedded in the message.
- If you have the ability to forward the text message to an e-mail, send it to email@example.com. If not, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the content of the text message including the subject.
- After sending the information to Capital One for investigation, delete the text message from your mobile phone.
- You may want to sign in to your online banking profile or call Capital One to ensure that there are no issues with your account.
Vishing is an attempt to acquire personal information, sometimes to compromise online banking accounts, using social engineering over the phone.
Vishing occurs when a customer receives an automated call which says Capital One has identified fraudulent or unusual activity on a bank or credit card account. The message instructs the customer to contact Capital One, but provides a phone number not associated with Capital One. When the call is made, the customer is asked to provide private account information including bank or credit card account numbers. If this data is provided, the Capital One account is at risk.
If you receive a call that you suspect may be vishing that targets you as a Capital One customer…
- End the call and report the incident to Capital One at email@example.com.
- If you believe that your account has been compromised, contact Capital One immediately so that the matter can be investigated.
- Glossary of Terms
Software that is designed to prevent, detect, and remove computer viruses.
A browser is a software application used for searching and viewing web content. Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox are examples of graphical browsers, which mean that they can display graphics as well as text.
Data that is sent from and stored on a user’s web browser when the user visits a website. The stored cookie is used to recognize the user when they return to the website.
A firewall is a hardware or software solution used to keep a computer network secure. A firewall has built-in filters that can permit or deny access to a computer network based upon a predetermined rule set.
Fraud is a criminal act that occurs when someone uses deceit or misrepresentations for personal gain. Fraud can occur when credit or debit card numbers, online credentials, or other account details are stolen or compromised. An example of fraud includes unauthorized access to financial accounts to make purchases, balance transfers, or bill payments.
A person who finds and exploits weaknesses in a computer or computer network to obtain protected or restricted information.
Identity theft occurs when someone collects and uses the personal information of another for the purpose of assuming their identity for financial or other gain. Name, date of birth, Social Security number, and financial account data are all used to commit identity theft. For more information visit http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft
Hardware device or software program that records each key being struck on a keyboard. Key loggers are often downloaded unknowingly by users and operate in a covert manner so that the user is unaware that their actions are being monitored. The key logger records the keystrokes and uploads the information over the internet.
Malware encompasses a group of malicious applications used to steal information or ruin your computer’s function. The software is typically obtained from running an e-mail attachment, installing infected files, or even just browsing.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an online security approach used by financial institutions to verify the identity and authorization of a request to access online banking. The approach requires collection of information from at least two of the following three types of data or authentication factors—something the user has (e.g., card or token), something the individual knows (e.g., password or personal identification number), or something the individual is (e.g., fingerprint or other biometric measurement).
A secret word or string of characters used to enable access to a computer, online banking platform, social media site, or other protected information. A password is a way to authenticate or verify that the user requesting access is authorized to access the information.
Pop-up ads are a form of online advertising which appear in a pop-up window on a computer screen while the user is browsing the Internet.
Spam is the use of electronic messaging (including, but not limited to e-mail) to indiscriminately send unsolicited, unwanted, irrelevant, or inappropriate messages, especially commercial advertising in mass quantities.
Spoofing is the intentional act of deceiving computer systems or users to recognize a spoofed site or e-mail as the legitimate site, company, or individual. E-mail, IP, and web page spoofing all being common forms that mimic legitimate sources for malicious purposes.
Spyware is a form of malware secretly installed on computers that gathers information about a user’s online activity. Spyware can be used to collect various types of data including personal and financial information. Keyloggers are a form of spyware.
A Trojan is a type of malware which masquerades as a legitimate software file but is used by hackers to gain unauthorized access to a user’s computer.
A computer virus attaches itself to a program or file enabling it to spread from one computer to another, leaving infection as it travels. Like a human virus, a computer virus can range in severity: Some may casue only mildly annoying effects while others can damage your hardware, software, or files. Almost all viruses are attached to an executable file, which means the virus may exist on your computer but it actually cannot infect your computer unless you run or open the malicious program. It is important to note that a virus cannot be spread without a human action (such as running an infected program) to keep it going. Because a virus is spread by human action, people will unknowingly continue the spread of a computer virus by sharing infecting files or sending e-mails with viruses as attachments in the e-mail.
A worm is similar to a virus by design and is considered to be a sub-class of a virus. Worms spread from computer to computer, but unlike viruses, they have the capability to travel without any human action. A worm takes advantage of file- or information-transport features on your system, which is how it travels unaided.
The biggest danger with a worm is its capability to replicate itself on your system so, rather than your computer sending out a single worm, it could send out hundreds or thousands of copies of itself, creating a huge devastating effect. One example would be for a worm to send a copy of itself to everyone listed in your e-mail address book. Then, the worm replicates and sends itself out to everyone listed in each of the receiver’s address books, and the manifest continues on its path.
Due to the copying nature of a worm and its capability to travel across networks, the end result in most cases is that the worm consumes too much system memory (or network bandwidth), causing Web servers, network servers, and individual computers to stop responding. In recent worm attacks such as the much-talked-about Blaster Worm, the worms are designed to tunnel into your system and allow malicious users to control your computer remotely.
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