Phishing messages are emails, text messages, phone calls or website pop-ups that appear to come from an official source, such as your bank or insurance company, but are actually from hackers and fraudsters attempting to steal your personal information. Oftentimes these messages ask you to either click on a link or share confidential information.
Examples of Phishing Messages
Listed below are examples of messages that could indicate a phishing attempt.
- We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity.
- During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn’t verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information.
- Our records indicate that your account was overcharged. You must call us within 7 days to receive your refund.
It’s important to be vigilant and use your best judgment when you receive these types of messages. The senders could be phishing for your information so they can use it to commit fraud.
How to Deal with Phishing Attempts
If you receive a message that you suspect is a phishing attempt, keep the following advice in mind.
- Do not respond to emails or text messages asking you to confirm or provide personal information (credit card and bank account numbers, Social Security Numbers, passwords, etc.). Legitimate companies will not ask for this type of information via email or text.
- Do not click on links or call phone numbers provided in the message. These messages may direct you to fake websites – sites that look real but actually steal your information.
- Area codes can also be misleading. Some scammers ask you to call a phone number with a familiar area code to update your account or access a “refund.” However, a local area code doesn’t guarantee that the request is legitimate.
Remember that these messages may appear to be from organizations you do business with – a bank, for example. They may even threaten to close your account or take other action if you don’t respond.
If you are concerned about your account or need to reach an organization you do business with to confirm a message, you can call the number on your financial statements or on the back of your credit card. This will ensure you are contacting the actual company, not a fraudster.
Taking the following steps will help you avoid becoming a victim of a phishing attack.
- Use trusted security software and set the software to update automatically.
- Try to avoid emailing personal or financial information. If you must email this type of information, make sure you do use secure email.
- You should only provide personal or financial information through an organization’s website if you typed in the web address yourself and you can identify that site is secure. A URL that begins with https usually indicates that you are using a secure website (the “s” stands for secure). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.
- Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call to confirm your billing address and account balances.
- Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain viruses or other malware, which weakens your computer’s security.
Report Phishing Emails
Forward phishing emails to [email protected] – and to the organization impersonated in the email. You also may report phishing emails to [email protected]. The Anti-Phishing Working Group, a group of ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies use these reports to fight phishing.
If you believe you have fallen victim to a phishing attempt, you can take the following actions.
- File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at gov/complaint.
- Visit the FTC’s Identity Theft website. Victims of phishing could become victims of identity theft; however, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk.
If you receive a phishing attempt from someone posing as South State Bank, please contact our Customer Care Center at (800) 277-2175.