Phishing messages are fraudulent messages that usually require the recipient to click on a link, or follow a series of steps, in an attempt to get information related to an account.  It is important to remember that organizations, such as banks, credit card companies, and other password-protected web sites, will never send you an email asking you to verify your account information through an email or web site. Want to test your Phishing IQ? Get started with Sonic Wall’s great tool to see how you fare out.

Below is a short list of common phrases used in phishing schemes.  If you receive an email with any of these phrases in it, contact the business directly via telephone.

  • “Please Verify Your Account” Businesses should never ask you to verify any of your account information via email.  If you ever receive an email requesting such verification, call the 800 number listed on the company web site or in your records from opening the account.  Do not call an 800 number that is listed on the email you received.
  • “Failure to respond within 48 hours will cause your account to be closed” Phishing emails can include time frames for responses, which cause recipients of those messages to click and follow the links without properly assessing the validity of the email message.
  • “Dear Valued Customer” Since phishing emails are typically sent out in bulk, they rarely have your first and/or last name included. Therefore, you should be more wary of any emails that are not specifically addressed to you, although some valid emails certainly may be addressed this way. The key thing to remember is that no reputable company will ever send you an email asking for your login and password, birth date, social security number, bank account information, or other such personal data.
  • “Click the link below to gain access to your account” These links may look legitimate, but usually have an added letter or symbol in the web address that forwards you to a phony web site where you are asked to release personal or financial information.

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