remain “phishing savvy” Valencia friends~

Valencia’s Office of Information Technology Tip of the Week

How to Avoid Being Caught by Phishers

You receive an e-mail from [Your Bank Name Here] stating that there has been some suspicious activity on your account. To verify that the account activity is fraudulent, you are directed to click on the link provided and log into your account. You click on the link and it takes you to a [??Your Bank??] log-in screen. A username and password is required to log in. You enter your user credentials and the website directs you to another screen asking you to enter your bank account number, online pin and to verify your mother’s maiden name. Obligingly you enter the information and select submit. However, the form just goes blank and asks you to enter you information again. After another attempt you give up and call the tank. The representative denies that the company ever sent you an e-mail, and after a quick review of your account, it seems that there have been several withdrawals over the past few minutes totaling $1,200.

This story has been true for countless unsuspecting people who have fallen victim to Phishing scams. The term Phishing refers to the process of attempting to obtain personally sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, bank and credit card account numbers by imitating legitimate, trustworthy, sources. Asking yourself the following questions and following a few simple rules will help you identify and avoid falling victim to these scams. 

  • Does the e-mail contain misspellings or bad grammar?
  • Is this the first e-mail that you have received from the company?
  • Do you have any suspicions about the legitimacy of the message at all?
  • Does the web address of the website match the web address of the link on the e-mail?
  • When you receive the e-mail, it is always recommended that you call the company that initiated the request.
    • Note: A legitimate company will NEVER ask to go to a website and verify you account or user credentials.
  • Never open a link in a suspicious e-mail; doing so could infect your computer with Trojans, viruses and other malware .

Finally if you do receive an e-mail that you suspect is a scam, report the message to the company that the message claims to be from. Doing this can help the company report the problem to the appropriate agencies, in turn keeping others from being ripped off.

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