Protect yourself from phishing

You’ve heard the term before. You know it has to do with fraud and the Internet, but you aren’t exactly sure what “phishing” means.

In broad terms, phishing is when criminals defraud and scam an individual for their personal information by posing as a legitimate company or organization, mainly through email messages and fraudulent websites.

Look for the following identifiers to spot any potential phishing scams you might receive:

PROMPTS TO VERIFY INFORMATION

A common way that scammers collect personal and financial information is by asking you to verify or re-submit your confidential data to secure your account. Any information you enter, such as an account number, password or Social Security number can be collected and put at risk. You should never provide your personal data through an email or to unidentified individuals. That being said, TruStone Financial will never ask for this kind of information via email.

SUSPICIOUS LINKS

Many con artists mimic the web address of legitimate companies and use that web page as a front for fraud. An easy way to test a link without actually clicking on it is to hover your computer mouse over the top of the link to see the web address that pops up. If the address does not correspond with the normal secure website of the company, or seems unusual, don’t click!

ABSENCE OF LOGOS AND PLAIN TEXT

Most emails from legitimate businesses include a mix of text, logos and images. Look for missing official logos or any visible differences that do not seem in line with normal communications from the company or organization.

Once personal information is obtained, perpetrators can assume an individual’s identity and commit fraud. If you believe you have been a victim of phishing, change the passwords on all your accounts immediately and contact the credit union to discuss your options. Update any anti-virus software on your computer and run a full scan of your system to take precautions.