Security Center » Guard Against Online Fraud and Scams
Guard against online fraud and scams
Con artists have devised clever ways to trick people into revealing personal information online, including schemes known as "phishing" and "pharming." Precautions taken by Vanguard—and you—can help keep your information secure.
Here's what you need to do
As you conduct business online, taking a few simple precautions can go a long way toward protecting your personal information.
Phishing attacks seek to gather personal information, such as Social Security numbers and passwords, to access victims' accounts. A phishing attack often appears as an unsolicited, but authentic looking, e-mail that may threaten to close your account unless you verify some information. Although the links in the message may look like they contain your financial institution's website address, they point to a fake website that gathers the information you enter. Criminals then use that information to steal a person's identity.
Vanguard won't ask for personal information such as your Social Security number, account numbers, or passwords in an e-mail. Don't respond to, open an attachment in, or click on a link within an e-mail if you suspect the message is fraudulent.
Phishing e-mails typically include typos and other mistakes, terms the company may not use, or e-mail addresses that look different than ones the company uses.
However, we may ask for personal information if you're having trouble logging on to vanguard.com. Our website's virtual assistant, Val, may appear on your screen to help you log on. Val may ask for information that can identify you, such as a portion of your, or your full, Social Security number.
Pharming is another type of online attack where website URLs (such as www.vanguard.com) are changed to point to an attacker's numeric internet address (the "IP address") instead of Vanguard's legitimate IP address. Successful pharming attacks are less common than they were a few years ago; however, it's possible for an attack to be temporarily successful against poorly protected servers.
To guard against pharming, Vanguard webpages that display your account information, or allow you to make changes, use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. SSL webpages start with "https://" instead of "http://". One of the advantages of SSL is that your web browser verifies the identity of the server. If an attacker successfully changed a website name so that a secure vanguard.com address brought you to an attacker's site that looked like vanguard.com, your browser would display a warning. The warning would state that the name on the certificate doesn't match the name of the site. If you encounter a similar message, don't access the page. Immediately contact Vanguard Web Technical Support Services at 888-353-0547 for assistance.
Need technical assistance?
Contact Web Technical Support Services at 888-353-0547, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Eastern time.
Report security concerns
Receive a suspicious e-mail claiming to be from or about Vanguard? Forward it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have other security concerns? E-mail us at email@example.com
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