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Phishing: Don’t Get Hooked

Although technologies like social media, email, etc. are commonplace, there is still a strong need to be aware when using these methods of communication.  The changes in how we communicate with one another have generated an entirely new area of fraud concern.  It’s called “Phishing.”

What is Phishing?

Phishing is usually an attempt to deceive you into thinking a legitimate person or organization is requesting information from you. At first glance these requests for information may look innocent and appear to come from a legitimate source, but do not. These scams request you reply to an email, respond to a request by phone, or follow a link to a web site.  Links to web sites (sent to you through email) often take you to web pages that look very similar to the legitimate service the email is faking.

What does a Phishing email look like?

Email phishing attempts often give clear indications that the request is not legitimate. Banks, E-bay, and online e-cash services like Paypal are common targets. Some phishing attempts are easier to spot ­- an e-mail from a bank that holds none of the recipient's accounts, or the well-known messages from Nigerian lawyers or European lottery officials claiming to be holding large sums of money for you, to be released once you provide an account number.

Below we have provided some tips to help you detect a Phishing Email:

1) Unexpected request
The sender or content of most e-mails may be familiar to, but with phishing scams they usually contain an unexpected request. A common ploy is an e-mail from a "friend" stranded and in need of help; He or she just needs a one-time wire transfer of a few thousand dollars. How often does this scenario actually take place in real life?

2) Urgent!!
Most phishing e-mails prompt recipients for immediate action! How many times have you sent an e-mail that was really urgent? Typically, urgent requests are made by phone or in person, not via e-mail.

3) The message contains poor grammar and spelling.
Keep an eye out for typos and strange syntax, which are common features of phishing e-mails.

4) The message contains a mismatched URL- Suspicious hover-over link
Attackers want recipients to think they’re going to a legitimate websites, when instead the link is to a malicious one that may download malware to your computer. If a recipient is suspicious of a link within an e-mail they can hover over it with their cursor to see if the URL matches the description of the link.

5) The message asks for personal and/or sensitive information
Phishing e-mails often ask the recipients to "verify" their credit card number, social security number, or account password. A reputable company should never send an email asking for your password, credit card number, or the answer to a security question. Never share sensitive information through e-mail.

6) Something just doesn't look right

The idea is that if something looks off, there's probably a good reason why. This same principle almost always applies to email messages. If a recipient receives a message that seems suspicious, it's usually in their best interest to avoid acting on the message.


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All content contained in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon to make any financial, accounting, tax, legal or other related decisions. Each person must consider his or her objectives, risk tolerances and level of comfort when making financial decisions and should consult a competent professional advisor prior to making any such decisions. Any opinions expressed through the content in this newsletter are the opinions of the particular author only.  


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