FAQs on Phishing & Pharming

Be generous this holiday season but not with your personal information. Be extra vigilant to avoid being victimized by scammers who are definitely on Santa’s naughty list. Here are some frequently-asked questions to help you guard against phishing and pharming.

PHISHING

  1. I received an urgent email that I have to update/validate my customer information or I will not be able to access my account/my account will be terminated. There is a link provided. What should I do?
    Do not click the link or reply to the email. It might be a phishing scam. Reputable banks or financial institutions will never request sensitive information by email. If the email is supposed to have come from EastWest, please report the message by calling our Customer Service Hotline at 888-1700 or forwarding it to service@eastwestbanker.com.

  2. What is phishing?
    Phishing is an identity theft scam wherein cybercriminals “fish” for data usually via e-mail that appears to come from a legitimate source. The email tells you to update or validate your information by clicking on the included link or the PDF attachment. When you do, the link takes you to a fake website, or the PDF will download malware or virus on your computer, then the scammers will steal your data, money, and commit other types of fraud.

  3. Is phishing done only through email?
    No, identity thieves also use phone calls, instant messaging, social media sites, and malware programs that people get tricked into installing on their computers. Malware can monitor a computer keyboard, recording such information as passwords or credit card numbers, and then relay such data to identity thieves.

  4. What are the telling signs of a phishing scam?
    Watch out for:
    • Misspellings or poor grammar
    • Generic greetings like “Sir,” “Madam,” or “Accountholder”
    • Call to immediate action such as "Failure to respond in five to ten days will terminate your account” or “Reply or your account will be permanently blocked”
    • A request to provide personal information such as social security numbers or credit card numbers
    • Suspicious links and attachments
    • Instruction to click the link which indicates the correct URL (website address), but when you hover your mouse on the link, the actual URL will be displayed
    • Lost personal information. Legitimate institutions keep back-up copies of data, so it is extremely unlikely that they would lose your information. Scammers also use phrases like:
       - "Verify your account.”
       - “Update your account."
       - "During regular account maintenance…"

  5. Will a phishing email have the logo of the company?
    Yes. Fraudsters often use the official logos of the companies they're trying to spoof. If you think an email message is a phishing scam, delete it. If you are suspicious about an email claiming to be from EastWest, please report the message by calling our Customer Service Hotline at 888-1700 or forwarding it to service@eastwestbanker.com.

  6. What should I do if I think I've responded to a phishing scam?
    We advise you to take the following steps to minimize the damage if you suspect that you’ve responded to a phishing scam.
    • Change the passwords on all your online accounts that you think could be compromised.
    • Routinely review your bank and credit card statements monthly for unexplained charges or inquiries that you didn't initiate.
    • If you have accounts that were accessed or opened fraudulently, inform your bank right away and close those accounts. If it’s your EastWest account, please immediately report it to our Customer Service hotline by calling 888-1700 or emailing service@eastwestbanker.com.

  7. I was led to a fake website. What should I do?
    Do not provide any personal or sensitive information. If the website is masquerading as EastWest Online, please report it immediately by calling our Customer Service Hotline at 888-1700 or forwarding a screenshot of the site to service@eastwestbanker.com.

  8. How do I know if the website is legitimate or fake?
    Fake websites may look identical to legitimate websites which request your personal details such as online banking websites. However, legitimate websites which ask you to enter sensitive personal details are commonly encrypted to protect your details. This is usually identified by the use of “https:” rather than “http:” at the start of the URL (website address). Also look for a small lock icon. A closed lock indicates you are using a secure and encrypted connection. Depending on your web browser, the lock icon will appear in different locations.

    If these are missing or there is an open padlock or broken key icon present, the website is not secure and could be a scam site. Fake/scam sites will ask you to enter sensitive personal details such as:
    • usernames
    • passwords
    • bank account and credit card numbers
    • email addresses

  9. What kind of information should I protect?
    You should protect all data related to your identity:
    • Gov’t ID numbers such as SSS, GSIS, or passport
    • Driver’s license number
    • Account, credit card, and debit card numbers, including the Card Verification Value for both debit and credit cards
    • Mother’s maiden name
    • Passwords, access codes, and PINs
    • Pet’s name and name of first school (often used for forgotten password resets)
    • Date of birth

  10. How can I avoid phishing scams?
    Here are some tips:
    • Don't click links in email messages or open/download attachments.
    • Type addresses directly into your browser or use your personal bookmarks.
    • Don't enter personal or financial information into pop-up windows.
    • Keep your computer software current with the latest security updates. Install and use a firewall program/antivirus software.
    • Check the site's security certificate before you enter personal or financial information into a website. You can view an SSL certificate directly from the address bar by clicking on the padlock icon, then the “View Certificate link”.
    • Check the URL of any site that asks you to provide personal information. Make sure your session begins at the known authentic address of the site, with no additional characters appended to it.
    • Maintain effective, up-to-date virus protection.
    • Block suspicious Web sites automatically. Anti-virus protection detects and blocks fake Web sites, making it easier for you to be confident most of the sites you are using are legitimate.

PHARMING

  1. I typed the correct website address on my browser but I was taken to a website that looks like the website I usually go to, but not exactly the same. What does this mean?
    It could be a pharming scam and your computer or router is compromised. Hackers have found a way of breaking into and altering the directory servers so that when you enter the address of a site you want to visit, the server gives the wrong Internet protocol (IP) address and directs you to a spoof site designed to look like the real thing.

  2. What is pharming?
    Pharming is an identity theft scam that uses a vulnerability in a Domain Name System (DNS) to fool it into directing traffic destined for a legitimate website to the pharmer’s illegitimate site.

  3. How does pharming work?
    There are two types of pharming scams. One is when your computer is infected with a virus or malware which then causes technical changes on the computer and redirects to the fake website even if you type in the correct internet address or clicked on a bookmark.

    The second type of pharming is more sophisticated and generally undetectable by antivirus/antispyware programs. Your external DNS server, rather than your computer, is attacked which results in you being unknowingly redirected to a fake/scam copy of a legitimate site.

  4. What are the telling signs of pharming?
    The pharming website will often have a striking resemblance to a legitimate site, however the internet address will be slightly different, as may some elements of the visual appearance of the site.

  5. I just realized that I accidentally entered info on a fake website. What do I do?
    We advise you to take the following steps to minimize the damage if you suspect that you’ve been snared by a pharming scam.
    • Have your computer and router checked.
    • Return your router to its original factory settings and then change the name and password when you set it up again.
    • Change the passwords on all your online accounts that you think could be compromised.
    • Routinely review your bank and credit card statements monthly for unexplained charges or inquiries that you didn't initiate.
    • If you have accounts that were accessed or opened fraudulently, inform your bank right away and close those accounts. If it’s your EastWest account, please immediately report it to our Customer Service hotline by calling 888-1700 or service@eastwestbanker.com.

  6. How can I guard against pharming?
    Take these simple precautions:
    • Change the default password of the ISP-provided router.
    • Keep your computer software current with the latest security updates. Install and use an anti-virus/anti-malware software.
    • Check the site's security certificate before you enter personal or financial information into a website. You can view an SSL certificate directly from the address bar by clicking on the padlock icon, then the “View Certificate link”.
    • Check the URL of any site that asks you to provide personal information. Make sure your session begins at the known authentic address of the site, with no additional characters appended to it.
    • Maintain effective, up-to-date virus protection.
    • Block suspicious Web sites automatically. Anti-virus protection detects and blocks fake Web sites, making it easier for you to be confident most of the sites you are using are legitimate.

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Lost/stolen card or compromised account? Immediately report the loss/theft of your EastWest Debit, Prepaid or Credit card or any problem with your cards or your accounts, including transactions you have not unauthorized, to EastWest’s 24/7 Customer Service Hotline:

Metro Manila: 888-1700
Domestic Toll-Free: 1-800-1888-8600