Since 2003, October has been known as Cybersecurity Awareness month and is dedicated to ensuring that individuals stay safe and secure online. Technology moves fast, and scams are constantly evolving to keep people from catching on. In a world that relies heavily on technology, avoiding scams can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task. However, you don’t have to be a tech wizard to protect yourself! Educating yourself on the most common types of scams can go a long way in keeping you safe. The most prominent cybersecurity fraud attempts in today’s world are phishing, smishing, and vishing.
Phishing – Email Scams
The average person receives over 100 emails per day. Among those emails, it’s not uncommon to receive them from places like your bank, your insurance company, or even your coworker. Unfortunately, fraudsters know that, and use it as bait in their phishing attempts.
In most phishing attempts, fraudsters have bits of information about you, such as your name and date of birth. This helps validate the email you receive, since it may address you by name. Since phishing attempts often look like they’re from a company you know and trust, this combination can be tricky. This combination can be used to phish for more secure information such as your social security number, credit card number, or usernames and passwords.
For instance, this can look like receiving an email from your financial institution, with the first line addressing you by name, telling you that there is something wrong with your accounts and to click a link to resolve the error. However, slowing down and reviewing the email’s details can save you from a potentially fraudulent situation. You can review things such as the email address it was sent from, verifying that it is actually from that institution. You can also hover over any links in the email to see the true link that it is sending you to.
Smishing – Text Scams
Smishing is a form of phishing that involves text or SMS message. This has been an emerging and growing threat. By texting you directly, it creates a false sense of security because you assume the sender has your permission to contact you in this way. It can be difficult to decipher which text messages are legitimate and which are fraudulent.
Since text messages are typically viewed as an instant form of communication, this can also create a sense of urgency around the message. For example, fraudsters may send a text about a large transaction attempting to clear your account and send you a link to confirm or deny the charge. Since this is alarming, it can cause a sense of panic, making you more prone to click on the link to see what is going on. Slowing down and looking at the text closer can help you decipher whether this is legitimate or not. If you receive a text message asking you for personal information, it is best to assume that the message is fraudulent and contact the source directly.
Vishing – Phone Scams
Vishing is a form of phishing that is done using the telephone. It can be challenging to identify a vishing attack since fraudsters use trusted business or personal names to create credibility. They do this by “spoofing” or masking the real phone number they are calling from to one that is trusted.
During a vishing phone call, a scammer uses tactics to get you to share personal or financial information, such as account numbers and passwords. They might claim that your account has been compromised, claim to represent your bank or law enforcement, or even offer to help you install software.
While it’s easy to get wrapped up in the conversation and accidentally fall for a vishing scam, don’t feel obligated to carry on any phone call that seems suspicious. Take a step back and verify any information they are telling you. If they claim to be from your bank, hang up and call your financial institution directly to verify. Never use a call back number that they provide. Instead, search for the company’s official public phone number and call the organization in question. This simple step can protect you against a malicious attack, and keep your information safe.
How to Report
Remember that Idaho Central Credit Union will never send you a text or email asking for your eBranch credentials or account information. Do not hesitate to contact us if you ever have questions or concerns. Idaho Central can help you identify scams or fraud, and help you with the next steps needed to protect yourself. Learn more about how to protect yourself at our security center.
If you receive an email or text that appears to be from ICCU, do not click any links or provide any information. Immediately send a screenshot to email@example.com. The sooner these messages are reported, the sooner our team can work to get these fraudulent websites taken down. If you have questions or concerns about your accounts, please utilize our mobile app, give us a call, or go directly to iccu.com from your browser.