Phishing & fraud

In recent years, advances in computer technology have made accessing detailed information about people easier than ever. Although there are many benefits to having this information available, each of us must take precautions to protect our personal information from fraudulent use. A simple way to prevent yourself from becoming a victim is to learn more about the potential dangers of phishing.

What is phishing?

“Phishing” (pronounced “fishing”) is a scam that uses fraudulent email messages to trick consumers into disclosing their credit card, bank account, and/or Social Security Numbers, as well as passwords and other sensitive information.

Fraudsters scour the Internet in newsgroups, forums, blogs, contest entries, etc. to build lists of addresses. They send out emails pretending to be from businesses that consumers deal with on a regular basis, such as banks and credit card companies. Recipients could be both customers and non-customers of legitimate businesses. The emails often direct the consumer to “update” or “validate” their information to keep their accounts active via a fraudulent website that looks similar to (or exactly like) the legitimate business. Unknowingly, consumers submit their financial information—not to businesses—but to the scammers, who use it to order goods and services and to obtain credit.

Note: Bank of Hawaii will never send you an email asking you for passwords, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information. Bank of Hawaii Online Banking users are encouraged to use the Message Center to communicate with us about their accounts.

Protect yourself from phishing

Know that emails and websites can easily be faked. Internet websites, links, and email can be made to look like the real thing with actual logos. Never respond to unsolicited requests to provide personal or financial information no matter how official and convincing it may seem.

Be suspicious of emails asking you to verify financial information. Protect your Social Security Number, account numbers, and other personal information by not giving them out unless you are sure you know who you are dealing with. Most companies do not ask customers to confirm personal information by sending an email.

Protect your information. Avoid filling out forms in email messages since data is not protected and can make several stops on the way to the recipient. Bank of Hawaii Online Banking users can use the Message Center to communicate with us about their accounts.

Confirm the validity of all requests for sensitive personal, financial, or account information. Contact the company to confirm the validity of the email request using a telephone number or internet address you know to be genuine. Be wary of any email that warns you, with little or no notice, that your account will be closed unless you reconfirm your personal information. Don’t click on any links, instead, type in the company’s known website address directly into your browser.

Use a secure browser. Always confirm that you are in a secure session before entering personal information online (see Protect Your Online Transactions).

Fraudulent or questionable email

What to do if you receive fraudulent or questionable email

If at anytime you receive an email that is questionable, please call our Customer Service Center:

If you are the recipient of email phishes, please forward them to so that we can investigate them and take proper action. To help aid investigation, please do not change the subject line or edit the email in any way. You should delete the email immediately after. Do not respond to it or click on any of the links in the email message.

What to do if you respond to a fraudulent email

If you have responded to a fraudulent email by entering any personal information, including credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers, and username and passwords, please call our Customer Service Center immediately for assistance:

More resources

Anti-Phishing Working Group

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