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Protect Yourself From Phishing Scams

6/22/2004
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A rapidly growing form of Internet fraud is a practice known as 'phishing' (pronounced"fishing"). This fraud can lead to financial loss and identity theft.

Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent e-mail messages to addressees requesting them to supply personal confidential information. The message can be directed at a smaller number of targeted recipients, but it is most often mass-mailed or "spammed" to thousands of potential victims. Phishing e-mails are disguised to look like a request from a legitimate organization such as a bank, credit card company, or a retail merchant with which recipients may already have a business relationship. Often the message includes a warning regarding a problem related to the recipient's account and a request for the recipient to respond by providing specific confidential information. The format of the e-mail typically includes proprietary logos and branding, a "From" line disguised to appear as if the message came from a legitimate sender, and a link to a website or a link to an e-mail address. All of these features are designed to assure the recipient that the e-mail is from a legitimate business source when, in fact, the information submitted will be sent to the perpetrator.

Victims may be directed to provide personal account information by responding to the e-mail, or they may be directed to click on a link that takes them to a legitimate looking web page containing a form on which they are instructed to provide the information. Typically, the information requested includes items such as account numbers, passwords, PINs, Social Security numbers or other personal identifying information that will allow the perpetrator to gain access to the victim's accounts, steal the victim's identity, sell the information to others seeking to do the same, or all of these.

Protecting Your Privacy

At Royal Bank, the basis of each customer relationship is trust. You have chosen to do business with Royal Bank, and we are obligated to honor that relationship with great care, beginning with the information you have chosen to share with us.

* We currently do not collect or capture information about you when you visit our website.

* We will never send an e-mail message that requests confidential information, such as account numbers, passwords, or PINs.

* E-mails you send to us and e-mails you recieve from us are not secure. For this reason, you should never include sensitive or confidential information in your e-mail communications with us.

If you believe you have been a victim of a phishing scam:

* Notify Royal Bank immediately.
* Change your password and login information if you bank electronically with Royal Bank.
* Contact the fraud units of the three credit reporting agencies immediatley and have a "fraud alert" attached to your credit report file. The fraud unit numbers are:
Trans Union (800)680-7289
Experian (800)397-3742
Equifax (800)525-6285

* Monitor the activity in your account closley for a period of time, and notify Royal Bank immediately of any suspicious activity.

Additional information on phishing and identity theft can be found on the Websites listed below:

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/phishingalrt.htm

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/idtheft.htm

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