Avoiding Phishing Scams

Tips to protect yourself against phishing scams

  1. Be especially cautious of emails that:
    • Come from unrecognized senders,
    • Ask you to confirm personal or financial information over the internet and/or make an urgent request for this information,
    • Are not personalized, or
    • Try to upset you into acting quickly by threating you with frightening information.
  2. Communicate personal information only on secure web sites.
    • Look for a sign that the site is secure such as a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or an “https:” URL where the “s” stands for “secure”.
    • Also, beware of phone phishing schemes. Do not divulge personal information over the phone unless you initiate the call. Be cautious of emails that ask you to call a phone number to update your account information as well.
  3. Do not click on links, download files, or open attachments in emails from unknown senders. Even if you know the sender, open attachments you are expecting and know what they contain. 
  4. Never email personal or financial information, even if you are close with the recipient. You never know who may gain access to either of your email accounts.
  5. Beware of links in emails that ask for personal information, even if the email appears to come from a business you work with. Phishing web sites often copy the entire look of a legitimate web site, making it appear authentic. To be safe, call the business first to see if they really sent that email to you. After all, businesses should never request you to email personal information.
  6. Beware of pop-ups and follow these tips:
    • Never enter personal information in a pop-up screen.
    • Do not click on links in a pop-up screen.
    • Do not copy web addresses into your browser from pop-ups.
    • Legitimate businesses never ask you to submit personal information in pop-up screens.
  7. Protect your computer with:

    • A firewall,
    • Spam filters,
    • Anti-virus, and
    • Anti-spyware software.
  8. Check your online accounts and bank statements regularly for unauthorized transactions.
  9. If you use Firefox or Chrome, you already enjoy a decent amount of anti-phishing protection.
    • These two browsers are automatically equipped with Google Safe Browsing.