Phishing Safety Tips

What is phishing? 

Phishing is a scam that uses unsolicited phone calls, emails and fraudulent websites designed to fool recipients into divulging financial data such as account numbers, usernames, passwords and Social Security numbers. 

Who can be targeted? 

Criminals using this technique not only target consumers directly, but also can use this technique to target employees of financial institutions and trick them into giving away account information. 

How can you help prevent it? 

Fortunately, you can help prevent phishing schemes by following these tips: 

  • Never give out any financial information in response to an unsolicited phone call, fax or email, no matter how official it may seem.
  • Do not respond to a phone call or an email that may warn of dire consequences if you do not validate your information immediately. Contact the company to confirm the call’s or email’s validity using a telephone number or website you know to be genuine. Clicking on a link within the unsolicited email could give a criminal access to information they are not authorized to have.
  • Only use approved secure methods if you need to share financial information electronically. When submitting financial information on a website, look for the padlock or key icon at the top or bottom of your browser, and make sure the Internet address begins with "https." This signals that your information is secure during transmission. When submitting financial information via email, only use bank-approved, secured email systems. 

What should you do if you think you have been a target of a phishing scam? 

If you have responded to an email or phone call you think may be a phishing scheme, contact the one or more of the various helpful resources on this web page. It is essential to communicate quickly to help address the issue and to protect those who could be impacted.

Internet Safety Tips

Beware of Public Wi-Fi 

We’ve all been there — staggering through the mall with a mountain of gifts, struggling with coats and gift lists, tired to the bone. You stop at the coffee shop for a break and think, “I’ll buy the rest of my gifts online.” Out comes your smartphone. The problem is that cyber thieves can easily intercept personal information from unsuspecting customers who shop or transfer money using public Wi-Fi hot spots. When conducting online business that requires an account number, personal information, or passwords, it should be done on a secure connection. When you need to transfer money, it’s best to do so from home or another secure network— or better yet, stop by the bank!

 Watch Out for Email Scams 

This is the perfect time of year for crooks to scam via email. They promise cash rewards or unexpected tax refunds. Some claim to be the bank, contacting our customers about a purchase. Phony emails can look incredibly realistic, complete with logos and official looking content. Thieves use official-sounding language to solicit personal information so they can “take care of this urgent matter in the most timely manner possible” or “deposit winnings directly into your account.” Following are some telltale signs that help identify email scams. 

The email asks for personal or financial information 

The bank would never ask for a name, Social Security number, credit card number, account number, date of birth, phone number, mother’s maiden name, or similar…we already have that information. Simply, never answer an email like this - rather…delete it immediately. 

The email includes a request to click a link 

Financial institutions don’t block accounts or funds just because a customer refuses to click on a link. Such links usually result in malware being downloaded to the computer, which is used to steal personal information. The safe rule is to never click these links. 

The email promises exclusive rewards with little or no effort 

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. You should never respond to any sweepstakes or special offer that asks for personal or account information, even when they are told the information is needed to “deposit winnings into your account.” The email should be deleted. 

The email is threatening 

Financial and government institutions don’t send emails that pressure to respond with personal information. An email that does this is likely a phony. 

Create Strong Passwords 

Effective passwords use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Another reminder is to not use the same password at multiple sites. It’s best for passwords to never be written down, they should be memorized. If you do write them down, be sure to keep them in a safe place. The internet continues to offer consumers countless choices on ways to shop, bank, communicate and more.

Helpful Resources for Reporting Concerns



The Big Three Credit Reporting Companies
EQUIFAX • 800.525.6285

EXPERIAN • 888.397.3742

TRANS UNION • 800.680.7289

Important Shazam Numbers

800.537.5427 - To report lost or stolen cards 24/7