Most of us at some point have received random urgent emails trolling for financial information or asking us to click a link to win a huge prize. It’s a common scam known as “phishing,” and if you fall prey to this crime, you risk having your bank account pillaged or your identity stolen. Thankfully, there are a few easy to follow tips that will help keep you protected.
Never “verify” account information
Your bank and legitimate companies will not ask you to disclose account details via email. Never give out your personal financial information in response to an unsolicited email, text, or phone call.
Be cautious with attachments
Unless you trust the source and you’re expecting them, it’s best to avoid opening attachments or downloading files.
Make sure websites are secure
When conducting online business, make sure sites feature a lock icon and an “https” URL to indicate security.
Safeguard your computer
Purchase up-to-date security software to prevent spam, viruses, and spyware.
Watch out for links
Don’t click any links in an email claiming to be from a bank or financial institution. If you scroll your cursor over a suspected link, your browser should show the actual address you’ll be taken to. If it’s different from the address of the legitimate website, then clicking may take you to a fraudulent site.
Steer clear of “urgent” messages
Don’t respond to emails or texts that warn of consequences unless you validate your information. Contact the company directly using a telephone number or Web address you know are genuine.
Look closely at spelling
Many phishing emails and websites include spelling and grammatical mistakes-errors your real bank or account provider would never make in a professional customer email.