Phishing is a term that relates to the use of e-mails, text messages, websites and phone calls initiated by criminals in order to obtain
personal, financial or sensitive information from victims. The messages and websites are designed to look like they come from trusted and well-known businesses,
government agencies and financial institutions.
Ways to Spot Phishing Emails or Text Messages
The message content is intended to create urgency in order to trigger a quick reaction from the receiver of the message.
The message will ask you to "confirm", "update" or "validate" your account information and indicate that if you don't follow through
you will face dire consequences.
The "company" reffered to in the email or text message is one that you do not have an account with or do business with.
Phishing messages will usually not refer to you by using your name. They might use your email handle. For example, let's say that your email
address is Anderson75@emailme.com. The message you receive might say "Hello Anderson75" rather than referring to you by your real name.
Spelling mistakes and bad grammar. Large well known organizations generally have many eyes checking on any email or text message
being sent to clients. If there are obvious grammar and / or spelling errors in an email you receive odds are it is not from the large
Links in the email. If the email is suspicious and contains links do not click on it. Place your mouse over the link to see if the link leads
to the same adddress as the link in the email. If the address doesn't match the link or ends with a file extension of .exe it is a scam.
Information Criminals are Looking For
- Social Iinsurance Numbers
- Full Name, Date of Birth, Full Address,
- Mother's Maiden Name
- Username and password of online services such as financial institutions, social media sites and shopping sites.
- Driver's License Number
- Personal Identification Numbers (PIN)
- Credit Card Information such as card number, expiry date and the security code found on most cards.
- Bank Account Numbers.
How the Information is Used
Through phishing criminals can use information to;
- Access your current financial accounts.
- Open new bank accounts, apply for loans and credit cards and transfer money from your account
- Make purchases under your name and accounts.
- Apply for and receive government benefits.
- Access your email accounts.
- Access your social media accounts and scam people attached to you on social media.
Ways to Protect Yourself
If an email requests personal information or financial information be suspicious. Most companies will not ask via email for account numbers,
passwords, dates of birth etc.
Go to the companies website or find their contact information from a bill or documentation you have and contact the company directly. Many companies
will have information about Phishing Scams that have targeted their company or a way to report a possible Phishing Scam.
Never email personal or financial information.
Do not click on links embedded in an email unless you are absolutely sure they lead to a real site address.
Check your bank account, credit card and debit card statements on a regular basis to ensure that there has been no fraudulent activity with