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Phishing, Vishing, and Smishing Scams

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Phishing scams happen through email. In these scams, you might receive an email that appears to be from a legitimate business asking you to click on links to allegedly update or verify your information. In fact, you are not connecting to the business site at all if you use the supplied link. Instead, you are going to a site the scammer has set up to get your personal information, such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, passwords, etc.
 
How to protect yourself against email phishing scams:
  • Do not click any links or download any attachments in the suspicious email. Instead, open up your web browser and go to the website in question by typing the company name into the URL bar.
  • Be vigilant and pay attention. Scammers go to great lengths to try and trick you and may even use real company logos to make their communications seem legitimate. They also use spoofed email addresses, which are similar to the actual company’s address. However, the address may be misspelled slightly or come from a spoofed domain.
 
You can read more about phishing, spoofing, and how to protect yourself here.
 
Vishing scams happen over the phone, voice email, or VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) calls. Vishing is the phone version of Phishing. Vishing calls may come from an unknown number or a fake or spoofed phone number used to impersonate a legitimate person or organization. Scammers count on being able to manipulate you into believing that these communications are real. They may ask you to download malicious software, send money, or disclose personal, financial, or other sensitive information that they should not have.  
 
How to protect yourself against vishing scams:
  • Never give your personal information over the phone. Hang up, verify the phone number on the company’s website, and call them directly to make sure it was a legitimate call and request. 
  • Do not call the number the caller provides. When looking up the company website, make sure it is legitimate. Fake websites often contain misspellings and other telltale signs.
Read more about phone scams and avoiding them here.
 
 
Smishing scams happen through SMS (text) messages. This type of scam is very similar to Phishing, however, you receive the questionable link via text message.
 
How to protect yourself against smishing scams:
Don’t reply, and don’t click on links provided in the message. Links can install malware and take you to spoof sites intended to steal your information.
Delete any texts asking you to provide your personal information. Legitimate companies would not ask for your account numbers or passwords via text or email.
Don’t give out any personal information in response to a text.
 
We’re Here to Help
If you have questions on fraud or feel you’ve been a victim of a scam, please contact us at 202-479-2270.
 

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