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How to Protect Yourself From Phishing Scams

Avoid the headache and protect yourself from phishing scams attempting to obtain your personal information.

You’ve probably received an email requesting you to log in to an account to verify a password or account information.  If you check your SPAM folder you probably have a few in there right now. Financial institutions will never ask you to verify your personal information or login credentials through email, tweet, Facebook, or any other social media to verify your account information.

Phishing schemes can get pretty complicated. They might create similar email addresses and copy entire websites all in an effort to dupe you into entering your personal information.

What Is Phishing?

Phishing is an act of attempting to gather information such as Social Security Numbers, usernames, passwords, and credit card details, and sometimes money.

The FTC states that “scammers use email or text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information.”Scammers masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Communications purporting to be from a company you might have business with or popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors, or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. Phishing emails may contain links to websites that are infected with malware.

Phishing can lead to a pounding headache and extreme frustration. Additionally, being a victim of a phishing scheme could cost you time and money.

How to Protect Yourself From Phishing Scams

1. Verify the email address.

Don’t click on links or download information from unknown addresses. Scammers are pretty good at masking email addresses as well. Look at the email address to verify it came from a legitimate source. Look for misspellings or foreign extensions.

For example This example shows a missing “a” and an Australian domain extension.

2. Don’t click on links within the email or pop-up screens.

The best practice is to open up a separate browser and type in the URL yourself. Unsure of the URL? Give your credit union or bank a call or use google search to confirm. Avoid entering any information on pop-up screens.

Make it a habit to always check for the proper spelling of URLs.

3. Be mindful of social media requests.

Never give out personal information through any social networks. Social networks are a great medium to collaborate but can also be misused by scammers.

Companies that have your sensitive personal information will never ask you to verify your account through such a public setting.

4. Communicate verbally or through a secured chat.

When giving out information make sure you’ve initiated the contact. Give your personal information over the telephone or through secured online chats.

When in doubt, any verification of information should be initiated by you. This means you’re asking for something to be done and have contacted the company directly. Any person that calls or reaches out to you in any form should not be given any personal information.

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