Stack of credit cards with a fishing hook attached

Don't Get Caught in the Phishing Net!

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by Southside Bank

We’ve all experienced it—you receive an email from a trusted business that just doesn’t seem right. Maybe the design doesn’t look like it normally does. Or there are tons of spelling errors. It could even ask you to share information in a way that makes you feel a little uneasy.

It’s called phishing, and it’s a very common way for scammers to obtain your personal financial information. Phishing is a serious problem that can manifest itself in many ways. Email spoofing is one of the most common methods phishers use to acquire sensitive information from you.

These emails often look like legitimate business communications in order to get you to call a phone number or visit a website to provide your account information. Southside Bank never wants you to be victimized by these scammers.

We asked Greg Simpkins, Vice President of Treasury Management, for his advice on how to avoid getting phished. As he explained, “Scammers are highly skilled at creating emails that look and sound legitimate. It’s important for customers to be aware of the types of tricks phishers use.”

Here are a few things to watch for to avoid getting phished:

Messages about system and security updates. A legitimate email will never tell you a business needs to confirm important personal information via email due to a system or security upgrade.

Requests for personal information. Be very wary of any email asking you to provide your Social Security number or ATM/PIN code.

Urgent appeals. Be skeptical of any claim that your account may be closed if you fail to confirm, verify or authenticate personal information via email.

Offers that sound too good to be true. Don’t trust an email that asks you to complete a survey in exchange for money and requests your account information in order to receive payment.

Obvious typos and other errors. Fraudulent emails and websites are often riddled with typos or grammatical errors. Be on the lookout for awkward writing and poor visual design.

Enable editing. Do not enable editing on word or excel documents you receive via email. These documents may sometimes allow perpetrators to access your computer. Contact the sender to verify the validity of the document.

The bottom line? Phishers can go to great lengths to gain access to your personal and bank information. Use a common sense approach and trust your gut instinct if something seems amiss! And if the suspicious email is from a familiar person or company, contact them directly if you still have any doubt.

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