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What is Phishing?
Phishing is a scam where Internet fraudsters use email to request personal information from individuals.
How does it work?
These requests are most commonly in the form of an email from an organization with which you may or may not do business. In many cases, the email has been made to look exactly like a legitimate organization’s email would appear complete with company logos and other convincing information.
The email usually states that the company needs you to update your personal information or that your account is about to become inactive, all in an effort to get you to click the link to a site that only looks like the real thing.
If you click on the link to go to the phony website and enter all of your information, you’ve just been the victim of a phishing attack. The fraudsters have just captured all the necessary information to access your accounts online.
Another form of a phishing email is when you ‘click on the link’ you are taken to a site where you are to download something ‘necessary’ (which is actually a virus).
What can consumers do to protect themselves?
No reputable business will ever email you requesting that you update your personal information, including account numbers, system passwords or Social Security Numbers via a link to their site.
Follow these guidelines to protect yourself from phishing scams:
- Never click on a link from a business requesting that you provide them with personal information.
- Pay close attention to the URL (Internet address) behind the link. Often in phishing attempts, if you hover the cursor over the link the fraudsters want you to click on, it has nothing to do with the actual company they claim to be.
- At StellarOne, we use personal images as part of the log in process to online banking, do not log in unless you see the correct image on the screen.
- If you are unsure that the request is valid, open a new Internet session and manually key in the business’ web address. If the business genuinely needs information from you, they will have you log in to your online account to see the request. In most cases, you’ll just be greeted with a message indicating that the business will never email you requesting personal information.
- Report any phishing attempts to StellarOne by calling 888.STLLAR1 or 888.785.5271.