In this day and age, it’s virtually impossible to escape the internet. We live in a digital world, and as great as it can be—information at your fingertips, ease of use, funny cat videos—it also has a dark underbelly. Over the years, scammers have grown more sophisticated and found new ways to access personal information you’d rather keep private. How in tune are you with common information theft scams, and do you know how to avoid them?
Spoofing and phishing
Spoofing and phishing are probably the most common scams—and the easiest to avoid. Email scammers try to catch your eye with an attention-grabbing subject line, whether it’s a problem with your bank account or a can’t-miss sale at your favorite store. When you click a link or open an attachment, the scammer installs malware on your device that can infiltrate your files and steal information like bank account numbers, website passwords and more.
Common email scams include:
Phone scammers call claiming to be from a legitimate business and ask you to take action. They may request an additional payment so that an essential service, like your power, remains on. Or, they may call and ask you to verify a code that was sent to you via text message from a legitimate business.
How to protect yourself from falling victim to spoofing and phishing:
Elderly people are still the most likely to fall victim to scams. Take, for example, a woman who receives an email from her grandson, who is studying abroad and asks her to wire him money. On the surface, the facts check out; however, it’s possible that the grandson’s email account was hacked and that the email is a scam.
How to protect yourself from elder fraud:
There was once a day when we only needed one or two passwords for a handful of websites. Nowadays, you need a password for everything—and, yes, it’s smart to have a different password for each. It’s annoying, but it’s for your own good.
How to secure your passwords:
At the end of the day, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If something seems too good to be true, or sounds a little fishy, it probably is. Double-check everything, follow your instincts and don’t keep your passwords in a digital file on your computer.
Remember, WaterStone Bank will never call or email you directly and ask for your personal information. If you have questions or believe you may have fallen victim to a scam, please call our Customer Support Center at (414) 761-1000, or visit your local branch immediately. For more security tips and additional resources, visit wsbonline.com.
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