June 18, 2012

Online ad targets Columbia customers.

We would like to alert customers to a misleading online advertisement that gives the appearance of being sponsored by Columbia Bank.  The unauthorized advertisement appears as a web page following a visit to columbiabank.com and informs “columbiabank.com visitors” to check their credit score by clicking a button within the message.  After clicking the button, customers are encouraged to enroll in an identity theft protection service.  This service deducts a regular fee from the account the customer provides.  A copy of the page can be found by clicking the link below:

View unauthorized advertisement page

A close look at the bottom of the page reveals a disclosure that reads “This page is neither affiliated nor sponsored by Columbiabank.com."  The advertisement is not generated by columbiabank.com or Columbia Bank’s Online Banking system.  It seems to take advantage of URLs in the browsing history of computers that appear to have compromised or low security settings.  We recommend customers improve security by utilizing anti-virus protection tools and check regularly for updated definitions.  Additional fraud prevention information and resources can always be found in the security resource center at columbiabank.com.

If you have questions about this threat, please contact a Columbia Bank representative.