Don't Take the Bait...It's a Phishing Scam!

 

If you have an email address or receive text messages, you could be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. At some point, you’ve probably received an email or text message claiming you’ve won a grand prize or that there’s an issue with your account. The message seemed convincing with a sense of urgency demanding you to respond immediately. Beware, this could be a phishing scam.

 

A phishing scam is an online fraudulent attempt criminals use to steal your personal information such as your PIN, social security number, credit card numbers, and bank account information. Scammers try to lure you in by disguising themselves as a legitimate business to convince you to provide your personal information. This type of scam usually appears in emails, a pop-up, or through text messages.

Phishing scams can be difficult to notice. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, people lost $57 million to phishing schemes in one year. Here are some ways you can protect yourself from being lured in by a deceptive offer.


Ways to Protect Yourself from Phishing Scams.

Be aware.

Scammers use fear and threat tactics or promises of instant riches to lure their victims. If you receive an email that looks suspicious or if an offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Confirm the email.

Contact the business represented in the email through a reliable source such as their official website to confirm the legitimacy of the email. Most businesses would never request your personal information in an email. Never reply to the emails without checking to see if it’s from the business represented in the email.

Examine the email.

Most people read their emails quickly. If you receive a suspicious email, examine and read it carefully. Look for misspelled words and poor grammar. Also, check the spelling in the hyperlink by hovering over it to reveal the URL. If the URL has a misspelled word or if it redirects you to a different website, do not respond to the email.

Don’t open attachments.

If you receive an unexpected email with an attachment, do not open it; especially those attachments with .exe files. These types of files may have a virus or spamware that could attack your device and steal your personal information.

Protect your electronic devices.

Update your devices with the newest version of anti-virus software and anti-spyware. Also, enable firewall and back up your personal information regularly. For mobile devices, set software to update automatically to help protect your device from being compromised.

Use multi-factor authentication.

Protect your accounts by using the multi-factor authentication when offered. This added security offers two or more login credentials making it harder for the scammer to access your account.

Trust your instincts.

If something doesn’t feel quite right about the email, trust your instincts. It’s probably a scam. If the message leaves you feeling confused, pressured or uncomfortable, don’t respond to it.


Here’s what to do if you become a victim.

Scammers will never stop trying to steal your personal information. However, by educating yourself and knowing the signs, you lessen the chance of getting caught in the phishing net!


To learn more about protecting your identity, check out our Security Center.

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