17 tips to keep you safe from phishing schemes

Phishing is a form of internet fraud that aims to steal personal information such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, user IDs and passwords. 
These schemes can also trick the recipient into installing malicious software onto a computer or mobile device. 
Here are some tips to keep you safe from phishing schemes:

1. DO NOT RESPOND

Do not respond to emails, mail, telephone solicitations, text messages, raffles or contests from unknown entities. 

2. DO NOT ANSWER

Do not answer email warnings that have “undisclosed recipients” in the address line, a blank space next to “Dear,” numerous spelling errors, and/or awkward English.

3. KEEP PERSONAL INFORMATION SAFE

Do not email personal or financial information including credit card or bank account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, etc. Most internet email is NOT secure.

4. DO NOT BE FOOLED

Do not be fooled by legitimate-looking emails even if they contain logos, pictures, copyrights or names of legitimate businesses.

5. DO NOT REPLY

Do not reply to emails, text messages or pop-up messages requesting personal or financial information.

6. DO NOT CLICK

Do not click on links in unsolicited messages which can connect to suspicious websites.

7. UPDATES

Do not update personal information online in response to emailed or messaged requests.

8. DON'T CUT AND PASTE

Do not cut and paste a link from an unsolicited message into a web browser, as these links can be made to look like they go to one site, but are actually redirected to another to mine information.

9. CAN OCCUR BY PHONE

Do not respond to calls from alleged companies or government agencies which use a recorded message and ask you to call a phone number to update account information. Phishing can also occur by phone. 

10. UPDATE SOFTWARE

Install, update and use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as firewalls to help reduce the number of phishing emails received. 

11. REVIEW STATEMENTS

Review financial account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges.

12. CHECK CREDIT REPORTS

Check credit reports regularly. This can be done free of charge three times a year through the three reporting agencies found online at Annual Credit Report.

13. CAUTION WITH ATTACHMENTS

Exercise caution when opening any attachment or downloading any files from messages received even from known sources, to avoid the possibility of infecting computers with viruses, malware, spyware or other software designed to impair your computer’s security.

14. HTTPS

Look for the “https” prefix and a closed padlock when entering any financial information for electronic transmission over the Internet.

15. CONTACT ORGANIZATIONS/INSTITUTIONS

Contact organizations or institutions with whom you do business in response to unsolicited emails using their company name by calling the number provided on official company statements.

16. ACT IMMEDIATELY

Act immediately if you provided personal identifiable information to unknown or unverified parties by notifying the companies with whom you have the accounts and by placing a security freeze or fraud alert on your files at credit reporting agencies.

17. REPORT IT

Report suspected phishing scams to the Anti-Phishing Working Group.