Don't Get Hooked by a Scammer
The sport of fishing is fun for everyone – except for the fish. If you’ve ever been a victim of a “phishing” scheme, you can sympathize with fish. Phishing is when you receive an email that appears to be from a legitimate company asking you to confirm your identity in some way. You click on a link, give your personal or financial information, and the end user (or thief) uses that information for various purposes. Here are some tips to help you avoid getting “hooked” by a phishing scam:
- Don’t email your personal or financial information to anyone – it’s not secure. At Southern Bank, we will never ask you to provide any type of personal financial information by email.
- Don’t click on links asking for your personal or financial information. If you receive an email or some sort of pop-up message asking you to update your personal or financial information, don’t do it. Instead, type in the URL of the requesting organization and find out if that information is necessary. Or better yet, give them a call.
- Use protective software. Keep your anti-virus software up to date and make sure it can handle the most current viruses. Also keep your firewall intact at all times – never drop your protection (even temporarily).
- Review your statements. Thoroughly review your checking and credit card statements for any unauthorized charges. Set up alerts using online banking to let you know if your balance drops below a certain amount or when purchases have been made so you can manage your account better. If you don’t receive your statement in a timely manner, call your credit card company or financial institution immediately to confirm your billing address and account balance.
- Get a free credit report annually. Review your credit report at least once a year – it will help you identify whether or not your identity has been hacked. You can go to annualcreditreport.com to get a free report.
Do all you can to protect yourself from fraud, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. If you believe you’ve been scammed, file a complaint at ftc.gov, and let your creditor or financial institution know immediately. There are protections in place for victims of this type of fraud – don’t get hooked!
Information is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author.