Gone Phishing: Don't Let Scammers Reel You In

Don't become the catch of the day! Scammers are using increasingly deceptive tactics to get your personal information.

"Phishing scams" are emails, pop-ups, or other messages that appear to be from a credible source but are just trying to trick you into giving information or downloading malware. These scams can be hard to spot, so here's a few techniques that will help you avoid taking the bait.

• Learn How to Recognize a Threat: Knowing how to recognize a phishing attempt is the single best defense you have against scammers. Take the free Online Security training course at http://www.midrivers.com/cap to educate yourself.

• Install Security Software & Keep Systems Updated: Security software can help block phishing scams and malware or viruses they might contain. Keeping all your software (especially your Operating System, such as Windows) updated is also an important defense.

• Always Examine the Message Closely: Phishing scams can look very real, but they usually contain small indications that they are fake. Look for poor spelling and grammar, strange language, or unprofessional images to help you distinguish phishing scams from safe messages. Your real bank, Internet provider, e-mail provider, electric company or other trusted entities will not typically ask you to urgently click a link in an e-mail.

• NEVER Click on Anything in a Suspicious Message: Clicking on links or buttons in a scam message can download malware programs onto your computer, giving the scammer access to your data. If you are unsure whether a message is from a credible source, visit the source's official website or call them at a known, trusted phone number and ask.

• Use Multi-Factor Authentication: Set your banking, credit card, and other sensitive accounts up for multi-factor authentication. This means two or more credentials (like a PIN or security question in addition to your password) to access your data, so it's more difficult for scammers to steal your information, even if they get your username and password.

• Don't Reuse Passwords: Don't use the same password for multiple accounts, especially your e-mail account password. Use a password manager like LastPass or Keeper to help remember all your different passwords and generate strong, unique passwords for all your accounts.

If You Fall Victim to a Phishing Scam:

• Change the passwords for your e-mail, computer, websites you frequent, and any financial institutions.

• If you are concerned that financial access information may have been stolen, contact your financial institution(s) immediately and report that you may be the victim of fraud.

• Run a full-system scan for viruses on your computer.

• Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint.


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