When a scammer uses email to try to trick you into giving them your personal information, it’s called a phishing email. Think of it as someone trying to get you to bite on their fake “phishing” lure. But don’t get hooked! There are several ways you can avoid getting scammed.
Learn what a phishing email is and how it can be recognized.
Don’t get tricked into clicking. The keyword here is trick: phishing attacks are disguised to look like they’re coming from legitimate companies or organizations that you already do business with, like Alaska USA Federal Credit Union or your credit card company. Scammers are trying to steal your Social Security number, passwords, account numbers, credit card numbers, and other personal information. They use this information to access and drain your bank account, steal your identity, open new accounts in your name, and more.
It’s getting harder to tell real from fake messages. The number one rule: be skeptical and double-check everything, even if it looks real. A phishing email may ask you to click on a link, confirm personal information, pay for something you didn’t order, claim free merchandise, update your account information, and more. Just because the email contains a recognized name or logo doesn’t mean it’s real.
Here are some things to look for in a phishing email:
There are many ways to report phishing emails.
If you think your personal information has been exposed in a phishing attack, visit www.IdentityTheft.gov to learn about your options.
Think twice before clicking a link or responding to a text or email. When you take a few minutes to verify the information, fake elements often become easier to spot.
Make sure your computer browser and anti-virus software are up to date and update the operating system on your mobile device regularly. Current software regularly scans for security threats like a phishing attack.
Never click directly on a link or download an attachment from someone you don’t know. Instead, type in a URL you have independently verified yourself.
Don’t call the phone number listed in a potential phishing email; look it up yourself and call a verified number.
If you’re making a purchase or verifying account information, make sure the website has the closed lock icon, the URL begins with ‘https,’ and is followed by a legitimate web address.
Configure your browser to block pop-ups and don’t click on a pop-up window; they are notorious for leading you astray online.
Never send an email or text message with sensitive information like your SSN or account passwords. You will never receive a request like this unless it is a phishing email.
If someone calls to tell you you’ll be arrested unless you pay a debt, don’t believe them. Note the number they called from and hang up, then report it. In particular, forward any suspicious emails you get about your Alaska USA accounts to email@example.com.
If you logged into a fraudulent account in a phishing attack, immediately change your username and password on the real account and report the incident.
Use care when doing an online Google or Bing search. Avoid the search results identified as ‘Ad’ and triple-check website addresses before clicking.
Mistakes happen, and scammers are getting more sophisticated every day. If you think you responded to a phishing email, don’t panic but take care of it right away.
Learn more at www.IdentityTheft.gov.
Most people who got caught in a phishing attack look back and wonder how they could have fallen for it. To avoid getting hooked, take your time; think twice before clicking. Remember what a phishing email is and how it can be recognized. If someone is trying to reach you via email or text message about a problem with your account, play it safe. Ignore the link, go directly to the verified web address, and log in as usual to verify.
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