The email below popped into my inbox this morning—and it was suspicious from the start.
What immediately caught my eye: a partially listed credit card number, a request to download information, and a threat that my card would be blocked if I didn’t input requested information correctly.
Millions of fraudulent emails are sent to consumers daily. They claim to be from a range of sources, including companies whose services you may use, and they’re “phishing” for your personal information. This one happened to be from Wells Fargo, which shares these tips on how to protect yourself.
How did the scammers get my email address? Easy. Someone who had my email address in his contact list received the same email and, unfortunately, clicked on the links to download information.
How to spot a phishing email
Our fraud experts encourage customers to watch for these red flags in phishing emails:
- • A “Dear Customer” address
- • Partial or full account numbers
- • A request to download information
- • A threat for failing to provide requested data
- • Misspelled content
How to protect yourself
Don’t panic if you’ve received a fraudulent email. Stay safe with these tips:
- Don’t open links or attachments in emails from suspicious or unknown sources. Even pictures, music and videos can contain malicious programs.
- Just say no to sharing your personal identifiable information. No company will ask for your date of birth, Social Security number or ATM password in an email, website or text message.
- Update security programs such as antivirus and antimalware and firewalls to protect your computer. Viruses will destroy your data, and malware will steal your personal information.
- Review the spam filters in your antivirus program or Internet email provider. Make sure that you are maximizing its potential to quarantine malicious spear phishing emails.
- Report the phishing email by forwarding it, as is, to email@example.com.
- Contact a professional if you are unsure about content you have received. You’re better off asking than being at risk.
- • If you clicked on any links in the email and suspect you have malware on your computer, visit OnGuardOnline.gov.
- • If you haven’t downloaded any information from the email but suspect it contains malicious code, forward the email to your Internet Service Provider’s abuse department and/or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you suspect your information has been exposed, call your insurer or bank, which may provide LifeStages™ Identity Management Services from Identity Theft 911. Or contact us directly. One of our fraud investigators will guide you and provide practical support to protect your accounts.
Scammers cast a wide net by sending countless, official-looking emails to people in an attempt to get their ATM pins, passwords and credit card information.
When it comes to these phishing scams, you’ll want to be the one that got away.
Matt Cullina, Chief Executive Officer, Identity Theft 911
Matt has 15 years of insurance industry management, claims and product development experience. He spearheaded MetLife Auto & Home Insurance Co.’s personal product development initiatives, managed complex claims litigation and served as a corporate witness for Travelers Insurance and the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co.
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