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January 23, 2023
Bad actors utilize buzz words in hopes to catch someone’s eye with the intent to steal their personal or financial information. For example, words like Amazon and PayPal are often used within phishing scams. Because these companies are known worldwide, bad actors know it will make phishing scams appear more realistic and cause more victims to fall for their schemes. This sets the perfect stage for bad actors to bait their “phishing lines” and wait patiently before making their next move.

What is Phishing?

The FBI defines phishing as: spoofing techniques to lure you in and get you to take the bait. These scams are designed to trick you into giving information to criminals that they shouldn’t have access to.

Types of Phishing Attacks

  • Email phishing: Scams that happen over email.
  • Vishing: Scams that happen over the phone.
  • Smishing: Scams that happen through text messages.

Reduce the Risk of Phishing Attempts

  • Don’t click any links in an unexpected message or email. Never call phone numbers left in unexpected voicemails, emails, texts, or social media messages.
  • Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to an unexpected request. Legitimate organizations won’t call or message asking for your Social Security number, credit card number, bank account number, or your password.
  • Always verify the company by using a website or phone number you know is legitimate.
  • Never pay anyone who demands money by gift card, cryptocurrency, shipping cash, or money transfer. Nobody legitimate will ever ask for these forms of payment.
  • Always keep computer/devices software updated with the latest upgrades and patches. Check to make sure that your antivirus software is installed and activated.

What to do if you are a Victim of Phishing

  • Stop communication with the scammer
  • Scan your computer/devices for malware
  • Reset all passwords using a clean device
  • Notify your Financial Institution to restrict compromised accounts and reset online banking
  • Contact the credit bureaus if personal information was compromised