Tips for Recognizing Phishing Emails & Text Messages
Phishing emails and text messages are just one of the many ways scammers will try to access your information online. These fake messages are designed to trick you into clicking on something that may harm your electronic device or giving scammers your personal information such as passwords, Social Security numbers, and other personally identifiable information (PII). Keeping your email accounts and phones secure is one way you can help keep your PII safe and out of the hands of scammers.
Here are red flags to watch out for when checking your inbox to avoid potentially becoming a fraud or scam victim:
- You received a message from a sender you do not know. Before opening an email or text message, ensure the address or phone number of the sender is from someone you know and trust, or that it matches the contact information of companies for which you signed up to receive emails and/or texts from. Receiving an email with misspellings in the email address (such as email@example.com) is often the first sign to stop and verify the sender is someone you know before opening the email.
- You are being pressured to act quickly, or the subject matter contains false urgency. Many times, scammers will use urgent language or scare tactics to get you to click on something that may be harmful to your computer or electronic device. For example, the subject line may read “INSTRUCTION/WARNING TO RELEASE YOUR UNPAID FUNDS” even though you aren’t expecting money from anyone.
- The email or text message has strange formatting and/or logos or wording that aren’t quite right. Scammers will often try to make their emails and messages appear to come from a company people already know or trust to trick you into clicking on their links. The email or text may appear to be a shipping notification from FedEx or UPS, for example, but the logo may be fuzzy, the copy may contain misspellings, and/or the “track package” button may look different than previous emails you have received.
These are just a few things to keep in mind to make you stop and think before clicking on something that can cause you harm. For more tips on staying safe while navigating online and ways that SLFCU is helping to protect your information, visit slfcu.org/SecurityArticles.
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