In today's technological age, criminals are taking advantage of digital communication to try to steal your money. One of the most common tactics is social engineering, a method where fraudsters impersonate trusted financial institutions and other companies in order to trick unsuspecting individuals into revealing sensitive information. You can help protect your accounts and finances by learning how to identify and avoid these scams.
Understanding Social Engineering Tactics
Phishing is the most common social engineering tactic, where criminals send emails, texts, phone calls, social messages with requests for follow up to provide sensitive information. Through deceptive text messages and emails, these cybercriminals use psychological tricks like creating a sense of urgency and fear to manipulate you into revealing personal and financial data.
When it comes to bank-related phishing, the fraudsters typically want access to your login information such as passwords and PINs. They may also ask for account numbers and other personal details that can be used to access your bank account.
Remember that an authentic message from a bank like First Fed would never request your username, password, social security number, or other sensitive information.
How to Spot Phishing Attempts
There are several checks you can use to evaluate a message you suspect might be fraudulent. Here are a few key points to remember:
Be cautious of emails or texts that create a sense of urgency, such as warnings about unauthorized access to your account or threats of immediate closure. Cybercriminals use urgency to make you act quickly without thinking.
Be wary of links (URLs) that are different from the bank's official website domain. When checking a URL in an email, hover your mouse cursor over links in emails without clicking them to reveal the full web address the link directs to. EXAMPLE: our-first-fed-alert.dev (BAD) instead of ourfirstfed.com (GOOD)
Legitimate banks will never request sensitive information like your password, PIN, or social security number via email or text message. If you receive such a request, it's likely a phishing attempt.
Phishing messages often contain spelling and grammatical mistakes. Be skeptical of poorly written communications from your bank. EXAMPLE: “Bnk” instead of “Bank”
If you're unsure about the authenticity of a message, contact your bank directly using the official contact information provided on their website or on the back of your debit/credit card. Do not use any contact details provided in the suspicious message.
Can You Spot the Fraud?
These are four examples of actual text messages claiming to be from First Fed. Can you identify which ones are fraudulent texts?
Bank Accounts Offering Fraud Assistance
If you should fall victim to a scam, some bank accounts offer benefits to help customers beyond the $250,000 deposit insurance through the FDIC.
First Fed’s Cascade Checking account offers available benefits like identification theft restoration assistance. This feature provides access to fraud specialists if or when you need them, and up to $2,500 reimbursement to cover expenses you incur restoring your identity.* To learn more about the benefits of a Cascade Checking account and how to sign up, call 800-800-1577, email at email@example.com, or visit your local branch.
*Personal identity theft benefit is subject to additional terms and conditions.
Spot the Fraud Answers
If you picked out text messages A, B, and D as fraudulent, you are correct! Text message C is the only authentic text message from First Fed.
It’s easy to fall out of the habit of checking messages carefully before reacting to them, but it’s important to remain vigilant. If you identify a fraudulent text or email, great job! Simply delete the message; there is no need to report it. If you think a worrisome text message might be genuine, contact Customer Service for First Fed or your financial institution instead of clicking.
Keeping your data safe is an ongoing effort that requires everyone to stay alert. First Fed is committed to data security and partnering with you to keep your accounts secure.
First Fed is a member FDIC bank and equal housing lender.