"Phishing" is an e-mail scam that attempts to trick consumers into revealing personal information, such as their credit or debit account numbers, checking account information, Social Security numbers, or banking account passwords through fake websites or in a reply e-mail.
How to spot a phishing e-mail
Phishing e-mails, and the websites they link to, typically use familiar logos and familiar graphics to deceive consumers into thinking the sender or Web site owner is a government agency or a company they know. Sometimes the phisher urges intended victims to "confirm" account information that has been "stolen" or "lost." Other times the phisher entices victims to reveal personal information by telling them they have won a special prize or earned an exciting reward.
Look for these red flags in the e-mail:
- Asks you to provide personal information such as your credit union account number, an account password, credit card number, PIN number, mother's maiden name, or Social Security number. The Credit Union will never ask you for this information by e-mail.
- Does not address you by your name.
- No confirmation of the company that does business with you, such as referencing a partial account number.
- Warns that your account will be shut down unless you reconfirm your financial information.
- Warns that you've been a victim of fraud.
- Spelling or grammatical errors.
Take these steps to minimize your phishing risk
- View any e-mail request for financial information or other personal data with suspicion.
- Do not reply to the e-mail and do not respond by clicking on a link within the e-mail message.
- Contact the actual business that allegedly sent the e-mail to verify if it is genuine. Call a phone number or visit a website that you know to be legitimate, such as those provided on your monthly statements.
- Do NOT send personal information (e.g., credit or debit card number, Social Security number, or PIN) in response to an e-mail request from anyone or any entity.
- Be cautious. Check your monthly statements to verify all transactions.
- Forward any e-mails claiming to be from Visa or your Credit Union asking you to provide your personal account information to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also forward any suspicious e-mail to the Better Business Bureau at email@example.com, and immediately call your Credit Union.