Fraudulent email surfaces in Miami County

By Sam Wildow -

MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Sheriff’s Office released a scam alert on Friday, warning residents about an email claiming to be from Fifth Third Bank.

The email appeared to tell the recipient that something was wrong with his or her online banking tools, prompting the recipient to go to another website to enter their banking information.

The Miami County Sheriff’s Office advised residents not “to share any of your security information with anyone via Internet solicitations requesting the data.”

“We’ve only had one alert officially that we’re aware of,” Chief Deputy Dave Duchak said. When scams such as this one pop up, Duchak explained that the department tries to get that information out as soon as possible to warn the public. Duchak added that if anyone receives an email from a credit card company or bank soliciting personal information, “always call your financial institution.”

Part of the reportedly fraudulent email solicitation that was released Friday states:

At Fifth Third Bank, we’re committed to providing the tools you need to help you monitor your account(s) for the year 2016.

Your account is recently out of mobile and email security alert. It’s important you update your online banking information from unrecognized banking activities to get the best online experience and to make sure you are ready for any future banking updates.

To avoid online banking activities suspension within 24 hours, please click our secure web and verify your identity with Fifth Third Bank. Click start email and mobile update now.

According to the Associated Press, phishing — attempting to acquire personal or sensitive information — peaks during tax season. This is partially due to people already being being in the habit of recording private information — such as their Social Security or bank information — on websites.

Grammatical errors within the message can be a sign of a “phishing” email. Other signs can include a time limit or sense of urgency in the email and recipients receiving emails from a bank when they did not opt into receiving emails from that bank. Many banks may not even include web links in their emails, so recipients can check with their bank for more information.

Other signs of phishing can include the sender using an unofficial email address, such as one from a site that provides free email services like Yahoo or Gmail; generic greetings; links to a fake website; and legitimate links mixed with fake links.

Officials at Fifth Third Bank declined to comment about this specific incident, but they released a general statement with advice on how to avoid getting scammed:

Malicious phishing email messages are on the rise. They are becoming so sophisticated, in fact, that it’s very hard to tell whether they’re legitimate or not. We’re constantly updating our information to make certain we’re aware of every new attempt/method of ID theft and fraud. The first step to avoid becoming a victim is never provide the following information in an unsolicited email, link in an email, or website:

• User IDs

• Passwords

• Social Security number

• Card or account numbers

• Credit Card Security Code (CCV)

For Fifth Third Bank customers in need of assistance or who discover any suspicious online sites, email messages, or other fraudulent activity, please contact a Fifth Third Customer Service Professional at 800-972-3030 Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

By Sam Wildow

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall