Watch out for phishing scams

The number and sophistication of phishing scams sent out to people continues to increase dramatically.

While online banking and e-commerce are very safe, as a general rule you should be careful about giving out your personal financial information over the Internet, including email. You should be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information.

Phishing scams involve emails that get people to react immediately in an effort to get them to click on a fraudulent link or reveal their personal or financial information. These emails may be personalized to look like they’re from a company you do business with. They typically ask for information such as user names, passwords, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, date of birth, etc.

What to do if you receive a Phishing email

If you think you’ve received a phishing email, don't click on the links on it. This is especially true if you suspect the message might be fake or if you’re unfamiliar with the sender. Instead, call the company directly to check on the legitimacy of the email.

Phishers today are able to forge the URLs that you normally see when you're on a secure Web server to make it appear as a legitimate-looking address. To protect yourself, make it a habit to enter the URL address yourself.

Phishers may also forge the yellow lock you normally see in your browser that indicates a secure site. The lock, when double-clicked, displays the security certificate for the site. Do not continue if you get any warnings displayed that the address of the site you have displayed doesn’t match the certificate.