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E-mail and Web Site Fraud: Who's Phishing in Your Pocket?

These are examples of Procter & Gamble brands that have been phished:

Crest® Whitestrips®
Olay®

To learn more, please click on the spam alert at the bottom of each brand's Web page.

Report a fraudulent P&G e-mail or Web site.

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Identity Theft

Sensitive personal information (government ID/social security number, bank accounts and/or credit-/debit-card numbers, for example) should be thought of as cash money, which you don't give away easily. If not protected, it could be used to falsify documents, commit fraud or spend your money unknowingly (in other words, steal your identity). For example, a thief can pretend to be you by using your credit-card number over the phone to buy products from an unsuspecting company, and have the products sent to a location where he is waiting to pick the products up, but can't be traced.

E-mail Spam Versus Forgotten Opt-ins

Before you consider an e-mail to be "junk" or spam, make sure to read the address of the sender. You may have opted in to receive marketing messages from the sender and then forgotten about it. In this case, if the sender is a person or brand you trust, then it usually is safe to open the message.

However, do be wary of fraudulent e-mail addresses. You might be able to tell those who pretend to be a trusted brand by rolling your cursor over the address — if it looks suspicious, then do not respond.

Phishing Scams

Phishing is a criminal activity using techniques that deceive you into revealing information you normally wouldn't. Phishers attempt to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as passwords and credit-card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy person or business in an electronic communication or Web site. Phishing typically is carried out using e-mail or an instant message, although phone contact has been used as well.

Phishing Prevention: DO's and Don't's
Do Don't
  • Do be skeptical if you detect spelling or grammar errors, or it seems too good to be true.
  • Do be skeptical of any message that requests your sensitive information.
  • Do read the small print; if it says they are not associated with a company or product, then they probably do not have permission to make you an offer.
  • Do change passwords of online accounts often.

  • Don't use public networks or cyber cafés to do banking or to make online purchases.
  • Don't reply directly to a suspicious phone call or e-mail message. Instead, ask to call them back and/or do your own research on the Internet or with the Better Business Bureau®.


Spyware

Spyware is computer software that collects personal information about users without their informed consent. Some companies have incorporated forms of spyware into their products to watch and observe for advertising purposes. The user generally is unaware that these programs even exist on his or her computer and that they may infringe on his or her privacy. Reputable security software companies offer Spyware detection/prevention capability that you can purchase, with automatic updates as new viruses/Spyware/bots, etc. become known.

Help for Victims

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud or identity theft, here are some Web sites to help.

Learn what to do if you think your identity has been stolen.
Report fraud or identity theft attempts.

Check Your Credit

Equifax
Experian®
TransUnion®
Report a bad business practice.
Report a violation of a trusted Web site.

If you are bothered by a large volume of unwanted materials, please see "Stop the Junk."