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Bank customers beware

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January 25, 2005

Valdosta - If you're a customer at Citizen's Community Bank, you may have recently received an unusual email. "They were sent out to individual customers notifying them that there may be a problem at the bank and what they want is information off the account to fix the problem," said Glenn Copeland, Bank President.

The email appears to be sent from the bank's customer service department, but it's part of a bank scam known as phishing. "People go out trying to get information and the more information you can get on someone, the more likely you are to defraud them," said Copeland.

At least six different styles of the email were sent to customers, all requesting that they update their personal information. But one big mistake the sender made was not using the correct name of the bank. "Our name is Citizens Community Bank and the name used in the email is Citizens Bank and even the website listed is different," said Copeland.

Also, Citizens Community Bank never contacts its customers through email. "We contact them through their statement stuffers or direct mail if there is an alert," said Copeland.

Copeland says the bank's computer system hasn't been hacked, and he's not sure how the sender got the email addresses. "They can get it through trash cans, they steal wallets, they could pretend to be a landlord and get a credit report on these people," said Copeland.

And the best way to keep yourself from becoming a victim is to be extremely cautious with your identification information. "Don't give any information over the telephone or email, never give passwords or social security numbers," said Copeland.

So far only a hand full of customers have reported the email, but Copeland feels sure there are more recipients. He hopes this warning will keep them from falling victim to the fraud and help catch the person behind it.

posted at 4:05 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com

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