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Email Phishing - Protecting Your Information

Posted by: John Mickle on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 12:00:00 am

Whether you own a small business or use your home computer for financial activities, you need to be aware of Email Phishing which can ultimately lead to identity theft and corruption of your small business and home computers. 

What is Email Phishing?
Phishing emails are crafted to appear as if they have been sent from a legitimate organization or known individual. These emails often attempt to entice users to click on a link that will take the user to a fraudulent website that appears legitimate. – United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT)

Common forms of Email Phishing
Phishing emails are becoming very personalized posing as your cable company, utilities, credit cards, mobile phone carrier, banks, and many more entities that you do business with on a regular basis.  The most common threat of Email Phishing right now is malware.  If you click on a link inside of an email that was intended for phishing; your computer can become infected with malware.  The malware will attempt to steal your personal information, usernames and passwords to systems such as online banking.

Trigger events that can lead to Email Phishing
Here are some trigger events that fraudsters may try to leverage with Phishing Emails.

  • Natural disasters (Hurricanes, tornados, etc.)
  • Political elections
  • Holidays
  • Economic conditions
  • Tax season

Here are some steps to take in order to protect you against Phishing.

  • Most importantly, do not give username and password information (such as online banking systems) out to anyone.  Many phishing emails try to trick you into entering username and password information into a phony web site.
  • Make sure that email spam/junk filters are turned on and configured properly.  Consult with your email provider or IT specialist for assistance.
  • Do not click on links or open attachments in suspicious looking emails.  Delete them immediately and tag them as spam/junk within your email system.
  • Log into your known sites from your web browser to verify if an email is legitimate as the links in emails can be easily spoofed to go somewhere other than where it looks like it will go.
  • Be leery of unsolicited emails asking for personal information or presenting links to click on in order to update account information, track orders, overdue bills, cancelled ACH/Wire transactions, etc.
  • If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Do not email sensitive information in email unless it is encrypted.  Banks and other businesses should provide secure email systems to communicate regarding account information.
  • Do not store usernames/passwords, account information, SSN numbers, or other personal information in your email systems as if you do become infected with malware it will attempt to scan your email for this information.
  • Make sure that you have anti-malware/virus programs installed on small business and home computers and they are always updated and perform frequent scans.
  • Make sure that you keep other programs such as Java, Adobe programs, Internet browsers, and other online programs updated with the most current patches.
  • More information about Email Phishing and Cybersecurity
  • Here are some good web sites to obtain more information about email phishing.

Learn more about Phishing through information from the FTC and from the United States Government

Remember, you can call us anytime. Let us know if you have questions or concern for your bank accounts. Call 800-382-8031or email customersupport@bankwithmutual.com.

This blog is brought to you by John Mickle of Risk Management and Compliance with MutualBank. 

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