Phishing is one of the most popular forms of e-mail fraud. It is a form of criminal
activity that attempts to fraudulently acquire sensitive information such as passwords,
account numbers, or financial information by masquerading as a trustworthy person or
business in a seemingly official electronic communication. Phishing emails are often sent
to large lists of people, expecting that some percentage of the recipients will actually
have an account with the real organization. The term comes from "fishing," where bait is
used to catch a fish. In phishing, e-mail is the bait.
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Below are a few tips to help protect your personal and financial information.
- Never provide personal information in a response to an e-mail request, no matter who
appears to have sent it. Legitimate companies don’t ask for this information via email
or in a pop-up message. This information includes: Account Numbers, Social Security Numbers, Mother’s Maiden Name, and User IDs and Passwords.
- Ask yourself if you have initiated contact with the agency or business that is
contacting you. If the answer is “no”, it is likely that the communication is an act to
- Do not click links provided in an e-mail. Copy and paste the link into your browser window.
- Do not open e-mails bearing attachments from un-trusted sources.
- Call the person or the organization listed in the FROM line before you respond or open any attached files if it looks suspicious.