Phishing Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about phishing

Who sends phishing messages?

Fraudulent messages are sent by individuals who are attempting to steal confidential financial information, such as credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers, and passwords. These scams can be run from anywhere in the world and typically involve exploiting an unsecured email or web server.

How did they get my contact information?

In most cases the crooks don't know your email address, phone number, or where you live. Here's how it works:

  • Scammers locate an unprotected email server and send fraudulent messages to every address on the compromised server.
  • Scammers obtain a list of email addresses and send their phishing attack to all addresses on the list.
  • Computer viruses can also cause messages to be sent from an infected machine without the owner's knowledge.
  • Scammers get the prefix of a phone carrier, and then use phone dialers to automatically fill in the rest of the phone number.

What if the return address on the email looks legitimate?

The return address on phishing messages is "spoofed," or made to appear as an address different than the sender's actual address. Never rely on the return address to identify the sender, even if it seems like the message came from a trusted source.

Remember, Alaska USA will never call, email, or text you to ask for account information. (If you call Alaska USA, you will be asked questions to verify your identity.)

What is Alaska USA doing to stop this?

Alaska USA has developed systems to detect these frauds as they occur, and then work through the authorities to shut the sites down. In addition, Alaska USA seeks to educate members about this and other types of online fraud through member newsletters, educational content on the web site, and pages like this. The more savvy consumers are about fraud, the better they can protect their accounts.

Who is vulnerable to phishing?

Phishing attacks can be particularly effective against people who are unfamiliar with or new to computer technology. Like many traditional cons, phishing victims "drop their guard" because of some combination of confusion, panic, or the promise of an easy reward.

Help your family and friends avoid the dangers of phishing by spreading the word. Talk to the elderly who may be uncomfortable with computer technology, younger people who may be too comfortable with providing information to unseen parties, as well as anyone who is new to computers or cell phones, or perhaps too trusting for their own good.

Is it safe to use online account access?

Absolutely. In fact, recent studies suggest that consumers who use online account access are more likely to spot suspicious transactions on their accounts. Remember, phishing attacks don't make online banking unsafe. Their goal is to make you think that you are using Alaska USA online account access when you are actually not, tricking you into giving away your confidential information.

A range of security measures on the Alaska USA network and online account access servers combine to make your communication sessions secure. There are certain steps that you can take to protect your account as well.

  • Access your account only by carefully typing the website address into your browser or using a trusted bookmark. Online account access is accessible from the Alaska USA homepage.
  • Use a current web browser, and keep your computer and browser up-to-date with the latest security patches.
  • Make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware installed and properly configured on your computer.
  • If your operating system includes firewall software, make sure it is active. Consider an inexpensive firewall device, especially if your computer is always connected to the Internet, as is the case with most cable, DSL, or other broadband connections.
  • Choose a strong password for your account. Keep your password safe and don't share it with others.
  • When you complete your online banking session, always click on the "Logout" button to terminate your connection.