At Collinwood, the safety of our residents is a priority, but not all threats are physical. Cyber-threats can be financially devastating, and they're not always easy to spot. Phishing email is one common type of threat that you might experience if you have an email address and spend much time online. Learning to identify and avoid internet scams can help you protect yourself.
Phishing is a type of online scam used to get your personal information, which can then be used to access your existing accounts or open new accounts using your information. Phishing often happens through emails that look like they're from a legitimate source, such as your bank or a major online retailer like Amazon.
The email typically asks you to click a link, forward the message or open an attachment. Those actions can give the scammer access to your information. For example, an attachment could have malware in it that records your keystrokes to steal passwords or gives someone remote access to your computer. Links included in emails, which often look like they lead to legitimate company websites, could also install malware on your device.
Phishing scams are often difficult to spot, which is why they're so successful. Scammers go to great lengths to make the email addresses, company logos and links look like they're from the company they're pretending to be. For that reason, you should be suspicious of any email you receive and avoid clicking links or opening attachments unless you expected to receive them.
Here are some things to look for to spot a phishing email:
Phishing scams are highly sophisticated, so the clues that it's a scam can be difficult to spot.
If you know the email you received is a phishing email, don't click any links or open any attachments. Don't respond to or forward the email to other people you know. Don't take any action on it, especially the action the email asks you to take.
If you're not sure, inspect the email closely to look for the signs of a phishing scam. Contact the person or company who supposedly sent the email to see if it's legitimate. Most companies don't send emails to verify personal information or send payments, especially if you're not expecting those requests. Instead of clicking the link from a company, contact their customer support number to see if you need to verify information, change your password or take other actions that are requested in the email.
You can report the phishing email to the Anti-Phishing Working Group by forwarding it to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also report fraud to the FTC online. If the email looks like it came from a legitimate company, try contacting them so they're aware that someone is using their brand to scam people.
The impact of falling victim to a phishing scam depends on the type of scam and how much information was compromised. Here are some steps you can take if you fall for a phishing scam:
Being suspicious of an email you're not expecting can help protect your personal information and finances.