What is phishing?
Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is a type of online identity theft. It uses email and fraudulent websites that are designed to steal your personal data or information such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information.
Con artists send millions of fraudulent email messages with links to fraudulent websites that appear to come from websites you trust, like your bank or credit card company, and request that you provide personal information. Criminals can use this information for many different types of fraud, such as to steal money from your account, to open new accounts in your name, or to obtain official documents using your identity.
What should I do if I receive an email phishing scam?
If you think you’ve received a phishing scam, delete the email message. Do not click any links in the message.
What is Vishing?
Vishing — short for voice phishing — is one of the latest iterations of phishing. Vishing has emerged as a new threat with the rise of Voice over Internet Protocol, technology that allows cheap and anonymous Internet calls.
Like most phishing e-mails — vishing calls warn the recipient about a problem with their account (past due, disconnection warnings, late fees,etc.). The calls come out of the blue in which the caller may already know some of the victims personal information. They may have the recipient’s credit card number, and ask for the three-digit security code on the back of the card. Other times they have the victim call a number to verify basic data. But the number is actually recording data with the intent to steal it. The information often winds up on cyber-crime forums, websites that function as digital marketplaces for stolen personal data.
Signs of a Vishing Scam
Often, scammers who operate by phone don’t want to give you time to think about their pitch; they just want you to say “yes.” But some are so cunning that, even if you ask for more information, they seem happy to comply. They may direct you to a website or otherwise send information featuring “satisfied customers.” These customers, known as shills, are likely as fake as their praise for the company. If you hear a line that sounds like this, say “no, thank you,” hang up, and file a complaint with the FTC and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office:
- You’ve been specially selected (for this offer).
- You’ll get a free bonus if you buy our product.
- You’ve won one of five valuable prizes.
- You’ve won big money in a foreign lottery.
- You have a rich family member that you’ve never heard of that left you a lot of money
- This investment is low risk and provides a higher return than you can get anywhere else.
- You have to make up your mind right away.
- You trust me, right?
- You don’t need to check our company with anyone.
- We’ll just put the shipping and handling charges on your credit card.
- Resist pressure to make a decision immediately.
- Keep your credit card, checking account, or Social Security numbers to yourself. Don’t tell them to callers you don’t know — even if they ask you to “confirm” this information. That’s a trick.
- Don’t pay for something just because you’ll get a “free gift.”
- Check out a charity before you give. Ask how much of your donation actually goes to the charity. Ask the caller to send you written information so you can make an informed decision without being pressured, rushed, or quilted into it.
- Don’t send cash by messenger, overnight mail, or money transfer. If you use cash or a money transfer — rather than a credit card — you may lose your right to dispute fraudulent charges. The money will be gone.
- Don’t agree to any offer for which you have to pay a “registration” or “shipping” fee to get a prize or a gift.
- Research offers with your consumer protection agency or state Attorney General’s office before you agree to send money.
- Beware of offers to “help” you recover money you have already lost. Callers that say they are law enforcement officers who will help you get your money back “for a fee” are scammers.
What should I do if I think I am victim of a scam?
Take these steps to minimize any damage of a scam:
- Change the passwords or PINs on all your online accounts that you think could be compromised.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports. Check with Bridge if you’re not sure how to do this, 800.434.7300.
- Immediately cancel all credit and or debit cards that you believe were compromised.
- Contact the financial institution or online merchant directly. Do not follow the link in the fraudulent email.
- If you know of any accounts that were accessed or opened fraudulently, close those accounts.
- Routinely review your financial accounts and credit card statements monthly for unexplained charges or inquiries that you didn’t initiate.