Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks every day in hopes of gaining your personal information, and they’re getting better at disguising their scheme. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, people lost $30 million to phishing schemes in 2017. Avoid getting hooked by keeping these tips in mind.
Think Before You Click
Phishing emails, texts, and phone calls often appear to come from a company you trust, such as a bank, social networking site, online store, or even a government entity. Often, these messages will tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. Scammers often update their tactics, but there are key elements of these messages in which to be aware:
- Indicates suspicious activity or log-in attempts
- Claims a problem is occurring with your account, password, or payment information
- Asks you to verify your account or personal information
- Directs you to make a payment
- Suggests you are eligible to register for a government refund
- Offers a coupon or free item
- Includes generic language, such as “Dear Customer”
If you notice any of these tactics, do not proceed! Delete the email, hang up the phone – just do not click on any links or answer any questions.
Never Give Out Personal Information
As a general rule, you should never share personal or financially sensitive information over the phone or through the Internet. If you receive an email, text, or phone call that includes any variation of the above messages and you’re still unsure if it’s a phishing scam, go directly to the source. Visit the main website of the company in question, find their number and give them a call. If you want to check your online account, do not click on any links in the message. Instead, type in the web address of the company in a separate, secure browser. A secure website will always start with “https” and authenticated ones will include a padlock symbol ahead of the web address.
How to Spot A Fake Link
Scammers are very good at creating deceptive links, but there is an easy way to see if the link is real or not. Hover over the link without clicking on it. A website will appear in a small pop up box. If that website does not begin with https:// followed by the company web address, do not click! Scammers can easily fake an official email, but they cannot fake a legitimate web address.
Check Your Online Accounts Regularly
Even if you don’t need to, check in with each of your online accounts on a regular basis and change your password often. While online banking and paperless billing can be a time saver, it’s still important to check your statements monthly to prevent bank and credit card scams. Review each charge and entry carefully to ensure no fraudulent transactions have been made without your knowledge.
Your security is important to us. We hope these tips will help keep you safe and secure!
From your friendly friends,