Phishing scams are attempts by criminals to trick you into revealing your personal information by sending convincing-looking emails that appear to be from a legitimate company. The emails typically include company logos and branding, often with a link to a website that looks just like the real thing. In reality, the website is a clever fake and the information you enter goes straight to the criminal.
Don’t get hooked!
Here are a few red flags that the email that just landed in your inbox is a phishing scam:
Demands and threats: Is the information request legitimate? Your bank will never send you a threatening email, or call you on the phone, demanding information like your password, credit or debit card number, or your mother’s maiden name.
Warnings that your account will be closed or your access limited if you don’t reply is a telltale sign of a phishing scam.
Suspicious senders: Check the “from” address. If you hover your curser over the name, you can see the actual electronic email address. Some phishing attempts use a sender email address that looks legitimate but isn’t – one red flag is when email domain doesn’t match the organization that the sender says they are from.
Suspicious links or attachments: Phishing emails often include embedded links that look valid, but if you hover over them, you can usually see the real hyperlink. If the hyperlinked address isn’t the same as what appears in the email, it’s probably a phishing attempt. Does the email include an attachment that you weren’t expecting? Never open suspicious attachments.
What banks are doing to protect you from phishing
Banks take extensive steps to protect your personal information entrusted to them and to help you protect it as well. It is important to remember that fraudulent e-mails sent out by criminals may look like they come from banks or retailers, but they are scams and should be reported to the company being spoofed and deleted. To report a fraudulent email, be sure to send the email as an attachment.
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