When internet fraudsters impersonate a business to trick you into giving out your personal information, it is called phishing. Don’t reply to email, text or pop-up messages that ask for your personal or financial information. Don’t click on links within them either – even if the message seems to be from an organization you trust. It isn’t. Legitimate businesses don’t ask you to send sensitive information through insecure channels.
How to deal with Phishing Scams
- Delete email and text messages that ask you to confirm or provide personal information (credit card and bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords, etc.). Legitimate companies don’t ask for this information via email or text.
- The messages may appear to be from organizations you do business with – banks, for example. They might threaten to close your account or take other action if you don’t respond.
- Don’t reply, and don’t click on links or call phone numbers provided in the message, either. These messages direct you to spoof sites – sites that look real but whose purpose is to steal your information so a scammer can run up bills or commit crimes in your name.
- Area codes can mislead, too. Some scammers ask you to call a phone number to update your account or access a “refund.” But a local area code doesn’t guarantee that the caller is local.
- If you’re concerned about your account or need to reach an organization you do business with, call the number on your financial statements or on the back of your credit card.