If you sometimes feel like you’re experiencing “information overload,” you’re not alone. Thanks to the Internet and 24-hour news cycle, there is always a “breaking news” article to read and share with others. Unfortunately, scammers take advantage of our fractured attention to try and slip a phishing message past us undetected. Whether through email, text message, social media message, or phone call, learn to spot the signs of phishing so you can protect yourself from scams.
What is phishing?
Phishing, a play on the word “fishing,” is a type of cybercrime in which scammers dangle “bait” to try and lure sensitive personal information from you such as account numbers, social security number, login credentials, and more.
While email phishing is the most common form, phishing scams can also arrive via text (“smshing”), video (“vishing”), and phone call. In fact, fake text phishing scams are becoming more prevalent.
In any type of phishing scam, the sender masquerades as a trusted or well-known company to trick you into thinking the message is actually from your bank or that retailer you frequently shop with. Stop and think before you click to verify whether the message is legitimate or fraudulent.
How to spot a phishing scam
Here’s what to look for when determining whether a message is real or fraudulent:
- Is the offer too good to be true?
- Is there a sense of urgency and pressure?
- What is the link’s actual URL? Hover your mouse over the link to find out.
- Were you expecting this attachment or not?
- Is the grammar or spelling a little bit off, suggesting a non-native English speaker or email address such as “firstname.lastname@example.org”? The two ‘t’s’ might not jump out at you if you just skim, which is why it’s important to look carefully before taking action.
When in doubt, contact the company directly via the customer service number listed on their website. They can tell you if there’s actually a problem with your account or a special offer. Remember that legitimate companies and banks will never ask for your full account number, social security number, or login credentials over the phone.
Your Hometown Bank
At American National Bank & Trust Company, we believe being local is more than just having an office in your Virginia or North Carolina community. It’s about looking out for our customers with better banking options and quick, local decisions. If you spot fraudulent activity on your account, you can always contact any of our local branches. If traveling or after hours, please contact our fraud number 1.800.237.8990. You may also turn off or disable your debit card through Card Management in online banking or on our mobile app.