Protecting yourself against phishing

Dan_VZ
Community Manager
Community Manager
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Phishing is when someone digitally acts as another, usually a financial institution or other company, to get you to hand over personal information such as passwords, bank account or credit card numbers, or your social security number.

Most of us have been the target of some sort of phishing attack, even if we didn’t know what it was called at the time. These messages may look legitimate at a quick glance, but it’s important to be on the lookout for some telltale signs that can caution you against responding, especially with any personal information that could be compromised.

Many phishing attacks can be identified by these features:

  • Scare tactics and urgent message or subject lines: A subject line such as “URGENT: Payment Overdue” is intended to manipulate you into thinking there is some sort of problem with your account that needs your immediate attention.
  • Unprompted calls from “customer service:” Beware of these calls asking for your SSN, credit card numbers or passwords.  When in doubt, hang up and call the company’s publicly listed customer care number. Note: Verizon will never proactively contact a customer asking for sensitive information such as a password,account PIN or to perform authentication.
  • Lookalike or misspelled web or email addresses: Make sure you hover over any links before clicking to see the full URL and make sure the website is legitimate.  Some links can look correct as a quick glance but indeed have letters swapped or some other spelling error.
  • Suspicious attachments: If you aren’t 100% sure what the attachment is, it is best to not open it.  If there’s something titled “Invoice” from a sender that you have not made any recent orders from, trust your gut and leave it unopened.
  • Impersonal greetings or bad phrasing: Most organizations or companies that you have an account with would know your name rather than greeting you as “Dear user.”  Look for any unnecessarily complicated wording or words that look out of place as these could have been composed by AI.
  • Anything else strange: If something looks off, it probably is.  Trust your instincts and remember that it’s always worth double-checking before giving away any personal data.

 

Remember, most companies will not reach out to you unprompted.  When in doubt, don’t respond or click any links and call that company directly.

Verizon has some resources for you to reference if you think that an incoming message is a phishing attack.  Check out these Phishing email scam examples as well as SMS examples (also sometimes called smishing) so you can familiarize yourself with what these fraudulent message look like.

If you receive a suspicious text message claiming to be from Verizon, please forward it to us right away at S-P-A-M (7726). You can also report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

Verizon makes it easy to protect your mobile accounts and identity. Here’s how.

Originally posted on Verizon News Center: Anatomy of a phishing attack

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