Online Banking Security – Guest Contributor, Jeff Pryzbyl

According to a 2010 ComScore survey, 64% of online bankers use their bank’s bill pay feature.  While not common with smaller community banks, the larger national banks offer a secure message center which they can securely deliver messages to accountholders.  A short e-mail will notify you to check your messages.

While consumers enjoy the convenience of bill pay, it has also caught the eye of the phishing community.  A common scheme is to send an e-mail, purporting to be from your bank, stating that your bill pay feature is being suspended due to certain activity.  The e-mail will direct you to click on the link in the e-mail to sign into your account and rectify the situation.  The e-mail will have the look of a bank’s e-mail, with the formatting of the message similar to your bank and their logo.  What gives away the scam is the return e-mail address, frequently ending in an extension other than “,com” (i.e.  The UK extension signifies a website registered in the United Kingdom.

For starters, don’t click on the link.  Most of the time, the embedded link will take you to a site that will record your username and password and then your account is compromised.  The safest route is to visit or call your bank at a known number (not any number included in the e-mail).    If you prefer to access the bank via their website, close your browser and re-start a new connection.  Access your account through your regular login.  Within their secure message center, verify that there were no notices about your bill pay feature and account is functioning just fine.  Then, to protect others, look on your bank’s website – there should be means to report phishing attempts.

A Principal at Parr, LLC, Jeff co-leads its finance and accounting vertical. Jeff has over 20 years of accounting, compliance and regulatory control experience, having served as CFO to numerous community-based banks. Jeff is a regular contributor to SMB Matters blog.

What MATTERS to SMBs. SMBMatters.


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