Phishing Scams – Don’t Get Hooked!

Wed, 30 May 2012

Have you ever received an email with a similar message like these? “We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please login below to your online banking profile to review your account activity.”  “Your electronic funds transfer was rejected. Please click the link below for additional information.” It’s a scam called “phishing  – and it involves Internet fraudsters and identity thieves who send fraudulent emails, spam, or pop-up messages to trick unsuspecting victims into providing their personal information like your Social Security number, bank account information, credit card numbers, passwords, or other sensitive information. Phishing emails claim to be from legitimate retailers, banks, organizations, or government agencies. The message may ask you to “update”, “verify”, or “confirm” your account and personal information. The recipients of some scam emails are requested to click on an included hyperlink, which directs them to a fake website. The ultimate goal of any phishing email is to trick you into divulging your personal information so the perpetrators can steal your identity and use it to commit fraud. Click on this link for examples of phishing emails; this is legitimate I promise!  

How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Phishing Scam:

1. Never Supply Any Personal or Financial Information from an Email

Legitimate companies don’t ask for this information via email. If you are concerned about your accounts, contact the sender of the email using a telephone number you know is legitimate. Do not attempt to contact the sender by using a phone number contained in the suspicious email.  

2. Do Not Click on Links in Emails

Don’t click on any links or open any attachments from an email unless you know the sender and were expecting the email.  

3. Do Not Reply to Phishing Emails

Don’t reply to the email or attempt to contact the senders in any way.  

4. Do Not Supply Any Information on the Bogus Website

If you did click on a link in the suspected email, don’t ever give any information on the bogus website it brought you to.  

5. Delete the Email from Your Computer ASAP!  

6. Protect Your Computer

Make sure your computer is protected with spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall, and keep them up to date.  Some phishing emails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge. Some malicious software, a.k.a. malware,This is a third party link. Please review the third party content guidelines by clicking here for more details. has the specific purpose of obtaining the login credentials to your online financial accounts.  

7. Review Credit Card and Bank Account Statements

Make sure to review all your credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized transactions.  

8. File a Complaint with the FTC if You Believe You’ve Been Scammed

If you think you’ve been scammed, file a complaintThis is a third party link. Please review the third party content guidelines by clicking here for more and visit the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Identity Theft websiteThis is a third party link. Please review the third party content guidelines by clicking here for more details. for more steps to take to protect yourself. Victims of phishing can become victims of identity theft. There has been a significant riseThis is a third party link. Please review the third party content guidelines by clicking here for more details. in phishing and malicious spam in the first quarter of 2012. Make sure to protect yourself and your computer from these attacks, and educate your children and parents on what to look for, and how to avoid becoming their next victim. Do you have any other tips for our readers on how to avoid phishing scams?

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2 comment(s).

S Grant
December 21, 2012 at 3:39 am
I live in England and do not have an account with Webster but thought you would be interested to know that I have received an email purporting to be from Webster >> From: Webster Bank Subject: *****SPAM***** Wire Released Virus name: Trojan.Generic.KDZ.2254 which as you can see contained a Trojan virus. Fortunately my Bullguard anti virus removed it. Of course, I realise this is nothing to do with Webster. Most Banks in UK have set up phishing email notification departments so that should you receive these kinds of scams they can be forwarded directly on to the Bank in question for their information. Seasons Greetings!
December 21, 2012 at 9:00 am
S Grant, Thanks for reaching out. This email was not sent by webster and is a phishing scam to try and get you to give up your personal information. If you clicked on any of the links in the email, its very important that you have your computer checked for viruses before you use it again. If you did not click on anything, you should delete the email right away (and still check for viruses, that's always a good idea.) Thanks, Greg