A phishing scam is when scammers use email or text messages to try to illegally collect personal information like passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. Their intent is to defraud victims by using that information to gain access to your email, bank accounts, credit cards, or other accounts.
Phishing is sometimes difficult to detect because the email or text could look like it comes from a reputable company or someone you know. Be on alert if the message:
says they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts
claims there’s a problem with your account or your payment
says you must confirm some personal information
includes a fake invoice
wants you to click on a link to make a payment
says you’re eligible to register for a government refund
offers a coupon for free stuff
To protect yourself, ensure that your computer and mobile phone have security software that updates automatically. This type of software often blocks scam messages. Protect your banking and credit card accounts by requiring more than one credential to log on, like a security question or face recognition. Make sure that your data is protected by backing it up on a device that is separate from your home network.
If you receive a phishing email, forward it to the FTC at firstname.lastname@example.org and to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at email@example.com. If you receive a phishing text message, forward it to SPAM (7726).
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