"Phishing" refers to when scam artists contact you via phone or email pretending to be with a business or organization that you may deal with, for example, a bank, an internet service provider, online payment service or even a government agency. They are looking to steal personal information from their victims, so it is important to stay sharp and understand how to protect yourself from them.
What You Need to Know About Phishing
- Called "phishing" when e-mail is used; "vishing" when you're contacted via telephone.
- Your bank will never contact you to ask for your password, account number or other account-accessing details.
- Protect your computer with spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall. Remember to update them regularly.
- Don't send personal or financial information through your email.
- If you need to reach an organization you do business with, call the number on your financial statements or on the back of your credit card.
- Use caution when providing your personal information. Do business online with reputable companies on secure websites.
- If you suspect a message or a call is part of a phishing scam, contact the institution to alert them to the scam.
How to Recognize a Phisher
- You're asked to verify your account - legitimate businesses do not ask for your passwords, login names, Social Security numbers or other personal information through e-mail.
- An e-mail pop-up message asks you to "Click the link below to gain access to your account." This is a fake website where the scam artist will ask you for personal information. Test the validity of the link by resting your mouse over the link-this will reveal the actual website name.
If you believe you have been contacted by a phisher and/or had any personal information exposed, talk with your bank right away to ensure that all of your accounts are safe.