There’s no better time than now, National Cyber Security Awareness Month, to remind ourselves how to protect against phishing scams.
When was the last time you received a text message or phone call you didn’t recognize? (For many, the answer will fall within the last 24 hours. Such is the epidemic we face today.)
These are usually scammers trying to get you to provide your private or sensitive information so they can commit fraud.
We’ve all heard about phishing, where a scammer attempts to trick you with an email to reveal your sensitive information.
Do you know about Phishing’s scammy cousins?
- Phishing. First, the original. This is when you get an email from an unknown scammer meant to trick you into sharing personal information, like a password. (Named after the practice of scammers setting a lure out into a sea of emails, trying to get people to bite. Replacing the f with a ph was an homage to legacy hacker vernacular.)
- Smishing. This is when you get an unwanted text message from a scammer. (Named after the official name for text messages, SMS (Short Message Service))
- Vishing. This is one of those annoying phone calls from numbers you don’t recognize. Despite their sincerest efforts, you’ll notice them by the transparently robotic recorded message they lay on you when you pick up. (Named as a portmanteau for “Voice phishing”
Do this to stay safe against fraud attempts
- Do not open text messages if you’re uncertain of the source. The message may contain malicious software that could compromise your device. When in doubt, delete the text.
- Do not click any links or call any phone numbers an unknown source provides to you. Instead, Google the phone number of the company they are representing and call that number.
- Do not directly respond to SMS text messages or voice calls from unknown senders, even if they appear to come from a legitimate source.
One last thing: Have you signed up for fraud text alerts?
Text alerts allow us to notify you immediately of any suspicious activity in your accounts. That way you can act fast and limit how much harm fraudsters can do.
Opt into text alerts by calling us at 1-800-452-0900, opt. 1 or visiting a Unitus branch. Learn more here.
About the author: DJ Jones joined the Unitus Community Credit Union family in May 2018 to lead the Fraud & Security Department.
She brings over twenty-five years’ experience in investigations with a background that encompasses data breach remediation, identity theft restoration, insurance and legal investigations and financial services.
Originally from Alabama (Roll Tide!), Portland has been her home for 18 years. She and her wife are self-described foodies that love to travel and explore.