Step 8

Don’t be caught by phishing.

Bad actors sometimes use a technique known as phishing to trick people into giving up their personal information. Phishing comes in many forms: you might receive a link in an email that takes you to a dangerous website hosted by bad actors, an attachment that contains malware, or even a phone call from an impersonator requesting your personal information.

With hundreds of millions of phishing attempts every year, it is important to be aware of the signs of a scam. Look for suspicious links that appear within pop-up windows, emails that ask you to verify or change your account number or password, and emails with typos. In general, if something doesn’t feel right, you shouldn’t click on a link, download a file, or share any personal information. For ways to avoid scams, see below.

Along similar lines, it’s important to make sure the links you click on is safe. Clicking a link in an email, in a text, or on a website is not always safe.  The link could take you to a website hosted by bad actors or allow dangerous software to be downloaded on your computer or mobile device. Look for misspellings in texts or emails, or other signals that senders are not who they say they are.  If you get an email or text that seems to be from a company you do business with, consider going directly to the company’s website rather than clicking the link in the message. 

Check the link itself to make sure it is legitimate.  On a computer, when you hover your cursor over the link, most browsers will reveal the destination address, or URL, at the bottom of the screen.  Be cautious of URLs that contain “@” in the name, and of websites that automatically redirect you to another website more than once after you have clicked on a link.  Only enter personal information if you are on a secure website, which will have a URL beginning with the letters “https” or cause a padlock symbol to appear in your browser. If your browser displays a warning message before loading the website for the a link, take it seriously – your browser has detected that the website may be unsafe. While it’s impossible to completely avoid bad links, these guidelines are good rules of thumb.

Ways to avoid scams:

Before clicking on a link, hover your mouse over the text in order to view the URL of the website that the link will take you to.

Do not click on links within pop-up windows or in spam emails.

Also be wary of emails that ask you to verify your account number or password.

Watch out for emails with a lot of typos

The three key signs are: you are contacted by a stranger, you are offered a “great” deal, or you must act right away.

For more information of ways bad actors try to scam you, visit the websites below.

Scam Statistics

Anti-phishing tips

Email scam avoidance tips


Other Steps:

Step 7

Step 9