Banking scam on Facebook, email

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A new banking scam is popping up on some of the most popular sites on the Internet.

In a recent PC World article, Lucian Constantin covered the scam, which is a variation of what many know as the Zeus Trojan. For anyone who doesn’t speak the language of banking viruses (that includes me), this is a form of malware that attacks Web browsing sessions and look for your confidential financial information.

The latest version is popping up on the world’s biggest social networking site and three major email providers, aiming to trick you into giving away your debit card information. Here’s where you should be on the lookout.

Facebook: If you’re updating your status, don’t be tempted to accept a sketchy offer to use MasterCard or Visa debit card for 20 percent cash back on the purchase of Facebook credits.

Gmail and Yahoo: If you use one of these email service providers, watch out for a fake offer for free enrollment in a secure payment processing system.

Hotmail: The malware tempts these users with an offer that supposedly safeguards their debit cards with a free protection service from 3D Secure, a well-known security feature.

If you’re like me, you hear of these scams and think to yourself, “Come on. I’m too smart to give away my banking information.” However, this is a perfect example of hackers targeting some of the most trusted sites on the Internet. While it’s good to steer clear of suspicious Web addresses, I’m guessing the vast majority of our readers use at least one of these services every day. Because of that routine, some may be more likely to trust offers that pop up while logged in to an account.

My colleagues and I have covered plenty of malicious attempts to drain your checking account, and this scam serves as a good reminder that every website and every user is vulnerable. However, vulnerability is certainly very different than victimization. You can help to prevent yourself from being lured into the trap simply by vowing to never offer up your banking information to unsolicited offers.

If you think you have given away your card info to a suspicious site, contact your bank immediately. Monitor your checking account for any unauthorized transactions.

Have you seen any of these offers while updating your status or checking your email?

Written by
David McMillin
Contributing writer
David McMillin writes about credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes and travel. David's goal is to help readers figure out how to save more and stress less.