Fraud Schemes to Watch: Protect Against Phishing & Spoofing

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With more of our daily lives taking place online and through digital communications, criminals are trying harder than ever to take advantage of opportunities to steal your personal information. A way to protect yourself from identity theft is being aware of the ways in which your information can be stolen. Stay alert and be cautious―there are many tricks cyber criminals use to get your details. Read on for two fraud schemes we commonly see.

Two Common Types of Fraud Schemes to Watch For

Phishing

Phishing (pronounced "fishing") is a fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information or data such as usernames, passwords, credit card details or other non-public information. Typically, a bad actor attempts phishing through email, instant messaging or text messaging. A common form of phishing is trying to lure you to a fake website. The site text could look normal, but the link or sender is actually unsafe. If you click on a phishing link, you may be asked to disclose personal and confidential information like passwords, account numbers or Social Security Numbers. The most common type of phish attach is an email threatening some dire consequence if you do not immediately provide your private information to take the specified action.

What you should do:

Knowing the signs to spot a scam will help keep your personal information safe. A couple tips include:

  1. Never respond to an email asking for confidential information.
  2. Don't click a link from an email—copy the link into a browser instead. And be sure to look for the "s" for the "https" site link.
  3. Do not call phone numbers provided in a suspicious email.
  4. Use anti-virus or anti-spyware software on your computer and ensure that it is the most current version.

For additional tips and guidelines to avoid phishing scams, check out 10 Ways To Avoid Phishing Scams.

Spoofing

When a criminal is trying to gain your attention and/or trust, using spoofing is a way to mask who they really are. Spoofing is a way of hiding or disguising the unknown source, which is used in all forms of communication. It could be the “from” name in an email or the caller ID that appears on your phone. The goal of a spoofing scam is to gain your trust, making you more vulnerable to share personal information.

What you should do:

If you get a spoofing call, hang up! Do not answer questions, especially if they are simple “yes” or “no” inquiries or requesting account/payment information. If you are being pressured to provide information immediately, use extra caution. Call the institution or company back to verify the request.

If you receive an email that appears to be from a trusted sender based on the “from” name, double check the email address. Bad actors use names you know to hide behind, so make sure the actual email address (the name@address portion) matches what you expect. When in doubt, you can Google the domain to confirm it is real. Never open an attachment, click a link or download anything from an email address that looks suspicious.

Here are a few additional tips to keep your personal information protected:

  • Use a credit card when shopping online. Many major credit cards offer zero liability for fraud and will alert you to suspicious charges.
  • If you think your account has been compromised (or you are being told that it is), contact your bank directly through a known phone number. When in doubt, you can call the number on the back of your card.
  • Regularly monitor your checking and savings accounts for any suspicious activity or unknown transactions. If you see something that appears incorrect, contact your bank immediately.
  • Use electronic bill pay or online banking services, which help you eliminate paper and other printed documents with your account information.

If you think you have been scammed, contact Fidelity Bank (or your bank) immediately so we can be on high alert for any suspicious activity. To learn more about Fidelity Bank’s digital banking services, click the button below.

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