by Melissa Jean, District 32 Program Quality Director

Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent emails and texts pretending to be from reputable companies or someone you know in order to trick you into revealing personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, or sending them money.

Daily, thousands of phishing attacks are launched.  Unfortunately, they’re often successful. The fraudster’s tactics are becoming better at fooling us.  Scammers update their tactics to match the latest news or trends. 

You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it is from a company or person you know or trust, like a bank, utility company, your boss’ boss, or maybe a fellow Toastmaster. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

Before replying or click the link ask yourself the following questions

  • Do I recognize the sender’s email address?  Actually look at the sending address; it’s easy to change the display name.

NO – then immediately delete/ignore the message.

  • Am I expecting an email from the sender?

NO – then consider deleting/ignoring the message.

  • Does the email content match the history I have with the apparent sender?

NO – then consider deleting/ignoring the message.

  • Does the content convey an urgency?

YES – DELETE the email immediately

The morale of the story is – When in doubt, contact the sender using a phone number you ALREADY have.  Do NOT call the number which might be included in the email. Refrain from clicking the link or opening the attachment.