We’ve talked before about the most common scams to look out for. Now we’re going to review some clues that can help you determine whether you’re dealing with a phishing attempt over email or text, how to protect yourself, and what to do when you think you are conversing with a scammer.
Scammers perform thousands of attacks against people every day to try and access information like passwords, Social Security numbers, account numbers, and more. This sensitive information getting into the hands of a scammer leaves your hard-earned funds, email, and other private data vulnerable.
The quickest way for scammers to try and get this information is through email and text. You might notice you’re getting a message claiming to come from a trusted company. These messages often seem urgent and/or believable and press you to take action quickly. They may mention things like:
While the above examples are intended to scare you into acting, some scammers try to lure you into clicking or revealing personal information by saying things like:
As you see from these examples, a common theme is the sense or urgency these scammers will use. They will push you to take action, whether that be clicking on a link or sending personal information to them. Remember to take a moment to pause and determine whether the sender is legitimate.
Here are some other signs that a message may be a scam:
Familiarizing yourself with the common scenarios that scammers concoct to get you to handover you information is key in protecting yourself from these attacks. Read up on our previous article about common scams, and check out trusted sources like these articles from Experian and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
So, you receive a message, and you are pretty sure it’s a phishing attempt, or you're just not sure. What do you do?
If you don't have an account or relationship with whoever is saying they are messaging you, you can be sure it is a phishing attempt.
If you do have an account with the named company, don’t reply to the message. Instead, reach out to a verified phone number, not one listed in the message. A quick call to the company can often clear up any confusion.
If you think you've been the victim of a scam, and your information like social security number, credit card, or bank accounts have been compromised, visit IdentityTheft.gov. They will walk you through the steps you need to take.
We receive messages and emails every day. When in doubt, take a moment to double check. Make sure not to click on any links or reply unless you are sure of the sender’s identity and can verify the message is legitimate.