Northstar Credit Union is continually working to improve the security of your personal information. Nevertheless, identity theft and phishing scams are on the rise.
Phishing is a crime designed to steal your confidential information, such as account numbers, credit card numbers, or passwords. In phishing attacks, criminals send millions of fraudulent e-mail messages that appear to come from web sites you trust – such as your bank or credit card company, and request that you provide personal information.
What does a phishing scam look like?
As scam artists become more sophisticated, so do their phishing messages. These messages frequently include logos from real organizations and look like legitimate web sites. The following is an example of what a phishing scam e-mail message might look like.
To make these phishing e-mail messages look even more legitimate, the scam artists may place a link in them that appears to go to the legitimate Web site (1), but it actually takes you to a phony scam site (2) or possibly a pop-up window that looks exactly like the official site.
How to tell if an e-mail message is fraudulent:
Here are a few phrases to look for if you think an e-mail message is a phishing scam.
"Verify your account."
Businesses should not ask you to send passwords, login names, Social Security numbers, or other personal information through e-mail.
"If you don't respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed."
These messages convey a sense of urgency so that you'll respond immediately without thinking. Phishing e-mail might even claim that your response is required because your account might have been compromised.
"Click the link below to gain access to your account."
Messages can contain links or forms that you can fill out just as you'd fill out a form on a Web site.
The links that you are urged to click may contain all or part of a real company's name and are usually "masked," meaning that the link you see does not take you to that address but somewhere different, usually a phony Web site.