Can You Spot a Phishing Scam?

10/05/2021

Things Real Banks Will Never Ask

Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank. In fact, phishing attempts are at their highest level since 2016. The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $3.3 billion to these phishing schemes and other fraud in 2020. 
While the recent facts and figures relating to this type of fraud are alarming, online scams aren’t so scary when you know what to look for. And at United Bank, we’re committed to helping you spot them as an extra layer of protection for your bank accounts and personal information. We’ve joined the American Bankers Association (ABA) and banks across the country in a nationwide effort to fight phishing—one scam at a time. 
We want every United Bank customer to become a pro at spotting a phishing scam—and stop bank impostors in their tracks. It starts with these four words: Banks Never Ask That. Because when you know what sounds suspicious, you’ll be less likely to be fooled. 


The Top Three Types of Phishing Scams

1. Email

1 in every 99 emails is a phishing attack. Watch out for emails that ask you to click a suspicious link or provide personal information.


2. Text Message

Banks will never ask you to sign in or give personal information via text message.


3. Phone Call

If you didn’t expect a call from your bank, it could be scam. Don’t provide any personal information to the incoming caller – just hang up and call the bank directly at a number you trust.


Stay a Step Ahead of Hackers

The bogus communication is designed to trick you into providing confidential information either online or over the phone to someone imitating your bank. Stay a step ahead of hackers by watching out for these red flags:

  • Protect your confidential info. Your bank will never ask you to provide confidential information—such as your account number, username or password, security question answer, birthday, SSN, PIN or address—in emails or text messages. They will only ask for confidential information to verify your identity when you call their customer service numbers.
  • Be wary of suspicious links. Banks will never send you a text or email that asks you to click a suspicious link or download an attachment.
  • Beware of scare tactics. Scammers may pressure, or even threaten you, to respond. Just ignore it and call your bank directly.
  • Watch for misspelled words. Fraudulent texts and emails often have typos. Real banks use spell check.
  • Call the number on your card. Some fraudsters may reach out to you by phone. They can fake the caller ID to make it look like the call is from your bank and may even know your name. So how can you tell whether a caller is the real deal? Your bank will never call you and ask you for your account information. If you didn’t initiate the phone call, hang up and dial the number on the back of your card.

Make yourself more resilient to phishing

Now that you can spot fraudulent emails, texts and phone calls, lock down your accounts before scammers strike.

  • Set up multi-factor authentication on your bank and email login.
  • Use random or complex passwords.
  • Call your bank directly or login to your account to verify messages or emails received.
  • Keep your browser up-to-date with the latest defenses.

If You Suspect a Phishing Attempt

You’ve probably seen some of these scams before, but that doesn’t stop a scammer from trying. If you suspect an email, text or call you receive is a phishing attempt:

  • Take a deep breath. In most cases, it’s safe to open a scam email or text. Modern mail apps detect and block any code or malware from running when you open an email. The key is not to click on links or download any attachments. Attachments may contain malware such as viruses, worms or spyware. Links in phishing messages direct you to fraudulent websites. 
  • Do not reply to the sender. Ignore any requests from the sender and do not call any phone numbers provided in the message.
  • Hang up or end the call. Be aware that area codes can be misleading. If your Caller ID displays a local area code, this does not guarantee that the caller is local. Do not respond to the caller’s requests. Financial institutions and legitimate companies will never call you to request your personal information. Never give personal information to the incoming caller.
  • Report it. Help fight scammers by reporting them. Forward suspected phishing emails to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org. If you got a phishing text message, forward it to SPAM (7726). Then, report the phishing attack to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint
  • Contact your bank. If you feel you’ve been the victim of a scam and may have provided personal or important financial information, contact United Bank Customer Care immediately at 800.327.9862. You can also find the number on the back of your debit or credit card. Be sure to include any relevant details, such as whether the suspicious caller attempted to impersonate United Bank and whether any personal or financial information was provided to the suspicious caller.

It's time to put scammers in their place—and protect your wallet in the process. For more tips on how to keep phishing criminals at bay, including videos, an interactive quiz and more, visit www.BanksNeverAskThat.com.

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