Phishing Scams: How to Protect Yourself
It’s a red flag. You get a text on your phone or an email in your inbox that just doesn’t seem right. They are alerting you to activity on your bank account, wanting you to call the number provided to clear things up. Or you get an email stating you must click on a link in order to protect yourself from some type of scam. The problem? Those are the scams.
Phishing scams can be difficult to recognize. But the more research you do to protect yourself, the better, and the easier it will be to spot the scams. Phishing emails and texts might look like they’re from a company you might trust. Your banks, credit card company, app, or online store. Often, they will tell you that there has been suspicious activity regarding your accounts and want you to click on a link or attachment in order to clear things up. Big red flag. Never click on, or open anything from a text or email like this. If at any time these messages want you to verify or update your personal information, you should be highly suspicious. The best thing to do is call your bank or credit card company using the number you already have and not the number in the message.
So how can you protect yourself from these malicious scams? Your email spam filters may take care of some of the problems, but scammers are always trying new ways to outsmart the filters. Using a security software can really help slow down the number of emails you may get. Also, set it up to automatically update so you never leave yourself open to phishing. Also, making sure you update your phone software can give you added protection for your mobile device. As annoying as it may seem, never use the same password for multiple accounts. Once a scammer has your password, you leave yourself vulnerable for complete identity theft if all your passwords are the same.
Most importantly, if you get a phishing email or text, report it, then delete it.
If you think you may have been a victim of a phishing scam, go to IdentityTheft.gov.