Have you ever received an email from what appears to be a reputable company, such as a bank or government agency, requesting personal information? The request may be to click on a link in an email and provide your social security number, bank account numbers, or credit card information. This is usually a scheme called phishing. According to the FDIC, phishing “refers to a scam that encompasses fraudulently obtaining and using an individual’s personal or financial information.” Phishing has been around for years but is still affecting businesses and individuals daily.
What can you do to prevent becoming a victim to phishing?
- Report any suspicious emails or websites to the business that is being represented.
- Only give out personal information over the phone or a secure website. Always verify the company you are speaking with is the actual company they are representing.
- Look for the secure lock button on the bottom of the website or https:// in the website URL before completing any requests.
- Protect your computer with spam filters and anti-spyware. Make sure to keep this up-to-date.
If you have become a victim, take immediate action by updating your anti-virus software. You will need to place an alert with all 3 major credit agencies and notify your banks and credit card companies. Make sure to update all account passwords and request a copy of your credit report.