All internet users should be aware of the online scam known as “phishing” (pronounced fishing). Phishing involves the use of email messages that appear to come from your bank or another trusted business, but are actually from imposters.

Phishing e-mails typically ask you to click a link to visit a web site, where you are asked to enter or confirm personal financial information such as you account numbers, passwords, social security number or other data. Although these web sites may appear legitimate, they are not. Thieves can collect whatever data you enter and use it to access your personal accounts.

Other sites appear non-functional or temporarily out of service, this may be deceiving and in reality, the site may be downloading a virus and/or other ill-intended software to your computer.

How can I spot a phishing scam?

Here are some warning signs to look for.

How can I decrease my risk of being a phishing victim?

Here are some safety tips:

General Security Tips

While anyone can fall prey to fraud and identity theft, many ways exist to minimize your risk. Here are some security tips so you can guard against fraud and identity theft:


Personal Computer Security

One way a thief can get personal information about you is from your home computer. The following tips detail how you can add to the security of personal information on your home computer.

Passwords and User IDs

For each computer or online service you use, you should have a user ID and password. Try to create the most unique password, and protect it. Commit your password to memory and do not share it with anyone.

The following easily-identifiable items should be avoided when creating passwords:

Tips for creating strong passwords:

Install and use Anti-Virus Programs

Install a firewall

E-mail Attachments

You should only open and read a message that passes the tests below: