The State of New Jersey
NJ Department of Banking and Insurance
Home > Consumer Information > Personal Finance > Credit Awareness > Identity Theft > Phishing

Brand Spoofing is a scam in which perpetrators disguise themselves as well-known companies and “phish” for personal information.

What are Identity Thieves Looking For?

Social Security Numbers 
Date of Birth 
Passwords or Personal Identification Numbers (PINS)  
Account Numbers (credit card, bank)
ATM/Debit Card Number
How is the Crime Attempted?

E-mails are often sent to people asking them to click onto a link (spoof web site). Disguising themselves as your company, they ask you to either provide, confirm, or update confidential information. The e-mails generally express a sense of urgency, importance, or threatening situation regarding your account. Even if you don’t provide the requested information, the act of just clicking onto the link makes your computer susceptible to Trojan Horses (key logging software) or other viruses.

You may not do business with the company or financial institution used on the scam. The perpetrators send e-mails to thousands of individuals, hoping to hit on a person who has an account or does business with the named company.
Common Subject Headers Used to Attract Your Attention:

Security Update
Proposed Account Suspension
Please Confirm Your Account
Fraud Check Verification
Confirmation needed
Dear Client of ______
Be on the Lookout For:

Spelling errors in the e-mail
Awkward sentence structure (sentence fragments)
Links embedded in the message narrative that contain all, or part, of a legitimate company’s name
How to Protect Yourself

Do NOT open unsolicited e-mails, unless you’re certain who they’re from.
Don’t click on links in unsolicited e-mails. Doing so may allow thieves to access your computer, record your keystrokes, and capture your PIN and passwords, even if you don’t supply any information.
Change your password frequently. Create unusual passwords. Mix and match letters and numbers. Don’t use children or spouse’s names.
Consider using different passwords for different online accounts.
Install personal firewalls. Use the most current anti-virus software, and frequently update the software to guard against new viruses.
If in doubt about the veracity of the e-mails, do NOT open it.  Contact the company directly via telephone or send a new e-mail message to them.
OPRA is a state law that was enacted to give the public greater access to government records maintained by public agencies in New Jersey.
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New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance