Information Security 101: How to Avoid Being Scammed Online

January 5, 2023

Did you know that every day people like you lose their hard-earned money to online scams? Don’t make that mistake!

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans lost $5.8 billion to phishing and other fraud in 2021, a 70% increase from 2020.

It can be hard to spot fraud online. Keep reading to learn how to spot fraudulent texts, fake emails, and phone calls with these three security tips.

1. Emails with suspicious links should be avoided.

If you receive an email that asks you to click a link—whether it’s to verify your login credentials or make a payment—do not click the link! Before you click, hover over the link to reveal where it really leads. If you think it’s suspicious, call your bank directly or visit their website by typing the URL directly into your browser.

No matter how authentic an email or other communication may appear, never reply with personal information like your password, PIN, or social security number.

We all check email on the fly and from our phones, but it really is best to wait until you have the time to attend to your email in the way it deserves. With the right time and attention to your inbox, every email can be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism. Your caution will protect you from scams.

2. Don’t give out your personal information over the phone.

Don’t let caller ID fool you. A scammer can make any number or name appear on your phone when calling. Even if your bank’s number appears on your caller ID screen, it could be anyone. Always be wary of incoming calls.

If you get a call from someone saying they’re from your bank, don’t hand over your sensitive information—like your bank password or PIN. Banks may need to verify personal information if you call them, but never the other way around.

If you get an unexpected call, even if it sounds legit, just hang up. Instead, call your bank directly by dialing the number on the back of your debit or credit card.

3. Don’t text with strangers.

If you get a link in a text message asking you to sign in to your bank account, it’s a scam. Scammers often use this technique to steal your username and password. When in doubt, visit your bank’s website by typing the URL directly into your browser or log in to your bank’s mobile app. The best thing you can do is just delete the message.

You can never be too careful.

Here are some easy ways for you to beef up your information security:

  • Set up multi-factor authentication (2FA) on your bank and email login.
  • Use random or complex passwords. Even better, set up a password manager.
  • Keep your browser up-to-date with the latest defenses, like virus protection and malware alerts.

If you’re concerned about the information you might have given away, there are a few things you should do as soon as possible:

  • Change your password if you clicked on a link and entered any personal information, like your username and password, into a fake site.
  • Contact your bank by calling the number on the back of your card.
  • If you lost money in a scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (Call 1-877-FTC-HELP) and file a police report.

Interested in switching to a bank that keeps your information security top of mind? Digital banking services are critical to the way our customers do business. Our app and digital banking tools are easy to use and give you secure access 24/7. But when it’s time to talk to a person, we’re just as easy to reach. Text, email, or call us today. 

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Information Security 101: How to Avoid Being Scammed Online