October marks National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), a month created in collaboration between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance to ensure that every individual stays safe and secure online. As technology continues to become more intelligent and intuitive, so do cyber threats.
“Phishing attacks” are defined as the use of email or malicious websites to infect your machine with malware and viruses in order to collect personal and financial information. Cybercriminals attempt to lure users to click on a link or open an attachment that infects their computers, creating vulnerability to attacks. Phishing emails may appear to come from a real financial institution, e-commerce site, government agency, or any other service, business, or individual. The email may also request personal information such as account numbers, passwords, or Social Security numbers. When users respond with the information or click on a link, attackers use it to access users’ accounts.
Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their financial institution. And in this time of expanded use of online banking, the problem is only growing worse. We want everyone to become a pro at spotting a phishing scam—and stop impostors in their tracks.
Below are three of the most common phishing attacks to be mindful of.
- Text Message: If you receive a text message from someone claiming to be your financial institution asking you to sign in, or offer up your personal information, it’s a scam.
- Email: Watch out for emails that ask you to click a suspicious link or provide personal information. The sender may claim to be someone from your financial institution, but it’s a scam.
- Phone Call: Would your financial institution ever call you to verify your account number. No! If you’re ever in doubt that the caller is legitimate, just hang up and call your financial institution directly at a number you trust.
You may have seen some of these phishing attacks in the past, but that won’t stop a scammer from trying. It’s important to always be on your toes and to continue making sure you are aware of potential cyber threats as they evolve and become more sophisticated.