Information fraud, especially phishing, is on the rise in our digital world. Recently, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, cybercriminals took advantage of the increase in remote work and digital transactions to expand and improve their information fraud tactics. Specifically, they used the opportunity to launch mass phishing campaigns to the tune of a 220% increase in phishing incidents compared with the yearly average.
But, don’t worry, Bank of the Rockies is right here by your side. We’ll walk you through the common red flags of phishing and share essential tips to keep your personal information safe from scammers.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a deceptive practice where scammers impersonate legitimate organizations to trick individuals into revealing their personal information. Scammers try to trick recipients into providing their private information, such as passwords and credit card numbers through the fraudulent practice of sending emails, texts, or other messages. Phishers can disguise themselves as banks, businesses, or government agencies. The ultimate goal of phishing is to use this stolen data for fraudulent activities, identity theft, or financial exploitation. It is crucial to stay vigilant and cautious while interacting online to protect yourself from falling victim to phishing scams.
Common Red Flags of Phishing
Phishing appears most commonly in the form of emails received in your inbox. While sometimes you might receive an unsolicited email that is harmless, it is always a good idea to be cautious. Here are some of the most common red flags of phishing emails:
- Unsolicited emails asking for money or financial assistance
- Unusual email senders or domain names
- Requests for personal or sensitive information
- Poor grammar and spelling in emails
- Urgent or threatening language
Protecting Yourself from Phishing Scams
There are a few different ways you can protect yourself from phishing scams and prevent those emails from coming in as well.
- Keep your software and antivirus programs up to date.
- Be cautious of clicking on suspicious links or downloading attachments from emails.
- Create strong and unique passwords.
- Use two-factor authentication where possible.
What to Do If You Suspect a Phishing Email
If you suspect you have received a phishing email or that you have fallen victim to one, here’s what to do:
- First, do not click on any links or download any attachments.
- Next, report the email to your email provider and notify your bank or financial institution.
- Finally, run a scan on your computer for malware.
Reporting and Recovering from a Phishing Scam
It’s important to stay vigilant and informed to safeguard your digital life! If you believe you have fallen victim to a phishing scam, you’ll want to report it to your bank, and they can help you recover.
Bank of the Rockies cares about our customers and has been providing Montanans with the attention and tailored services you deserve since our founding in 1883. Together, we can combat phishing scams and keep your online information secure. Call our office to inquire about our IDTheft Smart product, or stop by one of our local offices, where you can speak with a Client Service Advisor to learn more.