Did you know that Google blocks approximately 100 million phishing emails daily?

Phishing attacks are the most common cyber threat, using various deceitful tactics to trick people into sharing sensitive information. These tactics often include fraudulent emails, misleading websites, impersonation of legitimate organizations, and false offers that prompt users to share their personal data.

Falling prey to phishing scams can be a violating experience, and the effects can be far-reaching, often leading to financial loss, a compromised identity, or both. Patterson State Bank wants to help prevent you from becoming a victim by offering these simple and practical tips to help you understand and avoid potential financial scams.

Common signs of phishing scams

Recognizing and protecting yourself from phishing attempts is crucial to secure financial well-being. Here are key red flags to help you stay one step ahead of potential scammers.

Unknown sender

Be cautious of an email from an unexpected sender or an unusual email address that doesn’t align with a legitimate organization’s official domain. This might be an imposter!

Urgent or threatening language

Be wary of emails that create urgency or threaten extreme consequences. Phishing emails often push you to act quickly without thinking.

Requests for personal information

Legitimate organizations won’t ask for sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers, or Social Security numbers via email.

Generic greetings

Phishing emails often use generic greetings like ‘dear customer’ instead of addressing you by name.

Poor spelling and grammar

Scammers often make spelling and grammar mistakes, and often use awkward language. Professional organizations generally maintain high standards of quality for all written communication.

Suspicious URL

Before clicking a link in an email, hover your mouse pointer over it to preview the web address it’ll take you to. If it doesn’t relate to the organization, avoid clicking, as it could be a cyber scam.

Unusual attachments or downloads

Be cautious of attachments or downloads in unexpected emails, even if the source seems familiar.

Too-good-to-be-true offers

If an offer or deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your gut, and don’t be lured in by big promises.

Fake logos or branding

Phishing emails may have logos or branding that look slightly off. If something doesn’t look quite right, check for variations in colors, fonts, or the overall design that differ from genuine company branding.

What to do if you’ve been the victim of a phishing scam

Are you worried you’ve been the target of a phishing scam? Here’s what to do:

  • Do not engage: If you haven’t already done so, avoid clicking on any links, downloading attachments, or providing any personal information.
  • Report the phishing attempt: Report suspicious emails or messages to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at [email protected]. Also, notify the organization being impersonated if necessary.
  • Contact your bank or credit card company: If you’ve shared any financial details, immediately contact your bank or credit card company to report the incident and monitor your accounts.
  • Update security measures: Change your passwords for all online accounts, especially if you’ve provided sensitive information. Enable multi-factor authentication where possible.
  • Run security scans: Perform a thorough scan of your computer or device using a trusted antivirus or antimalware software to ensure your system is secure.
  • Stay informed: Learn from the experience and continue to educate yourself on how to identify phishing attempts to avoid falling victim in the future.

By learning to recognize the signs of phishing and staying alert to suspicious activity, you can protect your finances and personal information from cyber scammers.

If you think you’ve been the victim of a cyber threat, report the incident, contact your bank, update your passwords, and follow the other tips outlined above.

Get in touch with Patterson State Bank

If you have any security questions or concerns regarding cyber threats, don’t hesitate to contact Patterson State Bank.

Visit our website or reach us directly by calling (985) 395-6131 to speak with one of our representatives. We’re here to help!