KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) --There's been a rash of fraudulent emails hit East Tennessee, but what may be most troubling and misleading is that this recent wave of phony e-mails displays the First Tennessee Bank logo.
Bank officials say it's a new twist on a very old scam, and it's called phishing -- scammers trying to get you to divulge your personal account information. In this case, they're trying to entice you with a supposed $90 bonus.
Scammers call you to get your personal information and they also contact you through the mail, but this latest rip off effort come to you through your e-mail.
Jennifer Holder is the vice-president and marketing manager for First Tennessee Bank and says, "People creating them will steal the logo of a legitimate institution."
Robert Cathey is a customer with First Tennessee Bank and says, "The first thing that struck me was it was from First Tennessee, and I'm a First Tennessee customer. So, I opened it and looked at it."
Holder says, "A lot of times, it's a bank. Sometimes, it's places like eBay or PayPal, or something that has a high member base to it."
Holder says scammers took their logo, which is very recognizable and lends a lot of credibility to their e-mail scheme, and blasted out the phony e-mails.
Holder says, "In this particular rash of emails that's going out this week and last week, it has been a ninety-dollar offer to complete a customer satisfaction survey."
Normally the message on e-mail scams include something that causes either concern or excitement.
Holder says, "To get the person receiving the email to act very quickly without thinking."
In this case, the chance at ninety quick dollars. And after you complete the survey, Holder says, "It asks you for account information in order to give you your bonus."
Once scammers have your info, they quickly put it to use.
Holder says, "Literally within minutes. Literally within minutes."
Not all of the bogus e-mails offer cash bonuses.
Cathey says, "The actual web page that came up had nothing to do with First Tennessee. So, that was a clue there was a problem."
And perhaps the best way to side-step an online predator is by "Immediately deleting it. And then, you know, exiting out is the best mechanism," Holder says.
She reminds you to slow down when dealing with any sort of financial related issues, and to look at your e-mails carefully to make sure you know who the sender is.
First Tennessee works with the Federal Trade Commission to get these bogus sites taken down immediately, and this latest one is now off-line.
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