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Dodge The Phishing Hook

The process of sending out emails requesting that recipients click a link that will take them to a web site where they’ll be asked to enter in sensitive information is called “phishing.” A vast majority of these emails are not legitimate and are solely sent for the purpose of “phishing” for information that will enable acts of identity theft.

Phishing messages arrive most often as emails that appear to have come from a financial institution and they look very credible.

How do you know if an email requesting such information is legitimate? The answer is that you don’t. However, most financial institutions NEVER email you and direct you to a site to enter in sensitive information.

The best advice is to call the company via an official, published contact number and inquire about the legitimacy of the email.  

To help you avoid becoming a phishing victim, below are basic, online communication practices you can employ.

  • Do not respond directly to email requests for sensitive information.
  • Do not click on links provided in emails.
  • Verify such email requests by contacting the company directly by calling their published number.
  • Once you’ve determined an email is not legitimate, forward the message intact to Antiphishing.org and the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Notify the FBI as well by filing a complaint on their web site.

For more information on phishing and how to avoid becoming a victim, please visit the Anitiphishing.org and OnGuardOnline.gov websites.