Don't Take the Bait...It's a Phishing Scam!
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Read time: 2 mins
You’re a winner!! Have you ever received an email or text message like this or one that threatens to close your account if you don’t respond within a certain time period? Don’t take the bait! This could be a phishing scam.
A phishing scam is an online fraudulent attempt criminals use to steal your personal information such as PIN number, social security number, credit card numbers, and bank account information. This type of scam usually appears in emails, pop-up, or text messages. The scammers try to lure you in by disguising themselves as a legitimate business and bait you into providing your personal information. Don’t get hooked by these deceptive schemes.
Here are ways to protect yourself from taking the bait:
- 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, and confirm whether the email is real. Most legitimate businesses would never request your personal information in an email. Never reply to these emails.
- Examine the email – Most people read their emails quickly. If you receive a suspicious email, read it carefully and 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 attachment with an unexpected email, 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 on an external hard drive.
What to do if you take the bait:
- Change your passwords immediately on your computer and all other password-protected websites that you visited.
- Immediately notify one of the three major credit reporting agencies to let them know your account may have been compromised and request to place a fraud alert on your account or freeze your credit. Also, it’s a good practice to review your credit report at least once a year to look for fraudulent activities.
- Check your bank and credit card statements for unauthorized charges. Also, contact the credit card companies and make them aware of the situation so they can further protect your credit line. They may recommend freezing or canceling your cards and reissuing you a new one.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that you are a victim of a phishing scam.
Scammers won’t stop trying to steal your personal information. However, by knowing the signs and protecting yourself from phishing schemes, you lessen the chance of getting caught in the phishing net!
To learn more about protecting your identity, check out our Fraud Center.