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Don't get lured in! Phishing involves thieves posing as legitimate businesses such as financial institutions, credit card companies, retailers, etc. to get access to your personal information.

Here are some valuable tips on how to avoid becoming "phish bait!"

Phishing scams are now a part of everyday life, and the scams are just another attempt to get valuable information. They usually occur when you receive an email or pop-up message that claims to be from a legitimate business that you have a relationship with, like your credit card company, credit union, bank, internet service provider, or other online services like Ebay or PayPal. Simple scams are easy to spot, but anybody can be tricked by sophisticated phishing scams. The best scammers are actually pretty smart; for example, they might include a graphic from the financial institution right on the email message or website. Or, the link provided in the email may look like it goes to the financial institutions website while the victim is actually sent to a very different site altogether. Once at the site, you will be asked to provide personal information. This may all sound reasonable and may look legitimate but phishing scams are anything but legitimate, and you will be providing your personal information directly to the scammers.

It is important that you know how to spot one and avoid becoming a victim of a phishing scam.

Common phishing come-ons include statements such as:

  • Verify your account….,
  • Dear Valued Customer…,
  • If you do not respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed….

The best way to avoid becoming a phishing scam victim is to use your best judgment. Financial institutions should not contact you asking for personal information. In fact, many institutions are posting statements informing customers that they won't be contacted for personal information. With so many warnings about phishing scams it is astonishing that so many people continue to fall victim to these scams which trick you into providing information for the purpose of stealing your identity. Unless you are initiating the transaction, you should never give out your personal information such as:

  • Your credit card number
  • Account information
  • Social security number
  • Passwords, Or any other personal information

Being aware of phishing scams will help you avoid becoming "phish bait."