Con artists are always trying to get your financial information — don’t be the victim of a scam

Phishing? Phishing attacks use 'spoofed' e-mails, websites, phone calls or text messages, designed to trick recipients into revealing personal and/or financial information.

Do you really know who’s contacting you? Phishing illegally uses names and logos of well-known banks, credit card companies, retailers, or even government agencies. In addition to online phishing, it’s also now easier for scammers to fake phone numbers on mobile or home phone Caller ID.

Hot scams. Current phishing scams include IRS/taxes (you owe money), jury duty (pay a “fine” or be arrested), Medicare (pay for a card, or give them your info), or contacting you on behalf of friend or relative (need money wired for an emergency).

Don’t share secure information. Delete emails and messages asking for credit card and bank information, Social Security numbers, passwords, birthdates, etc. Companies won’t contact you to ask you for this type of information.

Think — don’t just react. Although it is possible to sign up for and receive legitimate fraud alert e-mail, text or phone messages, phishing messages often ask for information and urge you to act immediately, warning that your account or information has been compromised in some way and dire consequences, including legal action, are pending. Beware of filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal financial information.

Caution before you click. Always be careful about links and attachments found in emails and texts, especially from senders you don’t know. And be wary of pop-up ads — not from your security provider — claiming that your device is infected.

Verify the information. When in doubt, contact a company directly using verified contact information, including that provided on a credit or bank card, or account statement. You can also reach legitimate websites using your own verified bookmarked links, or by searching for the company online. Do not use links or phone numbers provided in an unsolicited message.

Protect your finances. if you believe your credit card or bank account may be compromised, don’t let embarrassment keep you from taking action. Immediately contact the appropriate institution or company and watch for any unauthorized charges to your account. You may need to close or suspend your account and contact the credit bureaus. You should also file a police report and consider reporting it to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Who else should I notify? Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. — and to the company, bank, or organization being impersonated in the email. You may also forward as an attachment, the suspected email to the Anti-Phishing Working Group — a global industry, law enforcement, and government coalition focused on unifying the global response to electronic crime — at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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