Don’t Take the Bait: Recognizing and Avoiding Phishing Scams

As part of our ongoing commitment to your financial well-being, we’re dedicated to keeping you informed about common scams and fraud practices that could jeopardize your security. This month, we’re focusing on phishing scams – deceptive attempts by cybercriminals to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords, usernames, and financial details.

What is Phishing? 
Phishing is a fraudulent practice where scammers impersonate reputable organizations or individuals to deceive targets into disclosing personal information. These scams often involve email, text messages, or phone calls that appear legitimate but are actually designed to steal sensitive data.

How to Recognize Phishing Attempts:

  • Urgent Requests: Phishing emails often create a sense of urgency, pressuring recipients to act quickly. Be wary of messages that threaten dire consequences if you fail to respond immediately.
  • Suspicious Links: Phishing emails typically contain links to fake websites designed to mimic legitimate ones. Hover over links to reveal the true URL before clicking, and avoid clicking on links from unknown or unsolicited sources.
  • Unsolicited Attachments: Be cautious of unexpected email attachments, especially from unknown senders. These attachments may contain malware or ransomware designed to infect your device.
  • Poor Grammar and Spelling: Many phishing emails contain grammatical errors, misspellings, or awkward language. Legitimate organizations typically maintain a higher standard of communication.
  • Requests for Personal Information: Legitimate organizations will never ask you to provide sensitive information, such as passwords or account numbers, via email or text message. Avoid responding to such requests and report them immediately.

Examples of Phishing Techniques:

  • Spear Phishing: Scammers target specific individuals or organizations, using personalized information to make their phishing attempts more convincing.
  • Clone Phishing: Attackers create exact replicas of legitimate emails, including logos and formatting, to trick recipients into believing they’re from a trusted source.
  • Vishing (Voice Phishing): Scammers use phone calls to impersonate bank representatives or government officials, tricking victims into revealing personal information over the phone.

How to Protect Yourself:

  1. Be cautious and skeptical of unsolicited communications, especially those requesting sensitive information.
  2. Verify the legitimacy of emails, text messages, or phone calls by contacting the organization directly using official contact information.
  3. Install and maintain up-to-date antivirus software and security patches on all your devices.
  4. Educate yourself and your family members about phishing techniques and how to recognize and avoid them.

Report Suspicious Activity:
If you receive a suspicious email, text message, or phone call claiming to be from Front Royal Credit Union, please report it to us immediately. Your vigilance helps us protect the entire credit union community from fraud and cyber threats.

Together, we can stay one step ahead of cybercriminals and keep our financial information safe and secure. Thank you for your continued trust and partnership in safeguarding your financial well-being.

Posted by Amanda Thomas in Fraud and Scams.