How to Protect Yourself Against Cybercrime and Scammers
Cybercrime is an ongoing threat in our digital world, and it continues to evolve with new threats all the time. The FBI reported that $6.9 billion was lost through internet crimes in 2021, with 847,376 separate complaints, a 7% increase from 2020.
Scammers will pretend to be other people or reputable organizations, sometimes in very convincing ways. It is a good idea to know how to recognize cybercrime to protect yourself and your personal information. Here is what you should know about the major types of scams.
Person-to-person scams are online versions of scams that have existed for a long time, all with the same goal of trying to get money or information from innocent people. Examples of these can include suspicious emails from people claiming to be royalty from another country, phone calls trying to convince you a loved one is in jail, or fake companies trying to extort money from you. These types of scams can be extremely dangerous, because our immediate human instinct is to want to help, especially if it seems someone we are close with is involved or in danger. However, trying to get your money back will be extremely difficult if you willingly transfer it over, as scammers are quick to convert the funds to other forms that are untraceable like gift cards.
Phishing scams consist of an email that targets consumers in an attempt to make them provide their personal information in response. This allows the scammer to gain access to bank accounts, social media profiles, etc. The reason phishing scams are so dangerous is because they impersonate well-known and trusted sources for many people, such as internet service providers, banks, mortgage companies, healthcare providers, and more, making the decision to send information more convincing.
Phishing scams can be identified in a few key ways. Oftentimes, even though the email may look like it is coming from a genuine source, there may be obvious spelling mistakes in the body of the email. Additionally, the request in the email will sound odd or suspicious, for example, “There has been a mysterious charge on your account. Please provide your social security number and account number for our team to investigate.” If you are ever in doubt about whether you are being phished, ask yourself, “Why would this organization or person need my information?” Banks, mortgage companies, and other organizations will already have all the relevant information they need from you, so asking for these details through email is often a big red flag. Luckily, major email services like Gmail and Outlook are designed to warn users against potential phishing scams with pop-up messages appearing when the email is opened.
What To Do When You Think You Are Being Scammed
Here are some things to think about or ask yourself when faced with one of these potential scams:
How To Protect Yourself From Scams
Here are some things to consider and watch out for to help avoid phishing scams:
If you are concerned about a charge on your account or a bill payment, call your bank directly using the phone number provided at the time of account opening or from the contact information on the bank’s website. Explain the situation to them and they will be able to help you determine the best steps to move forward.
If you feel like you have been a victim of a scam or phishing attack, your bank is your best resource and your first line of defense, and you should call them immediately.
How Banks Can Help Protect You
Banks care about their customers and take cybersecurity very seriously. Every bank has extensive measures set up to ensure customer safety. Tools like:
At Katahdin Trust, we will NEVER call, text, or send emails asking you to provide sensitive banking information. Do not respond to any emails, texts or phone calls requesting identifying personal information like your social security number, bank account information, one-time passcode, or credit card numbers unless you initiated the call.
Learn more about the cybersecurity features we offer and see how we can help you control and stay on top of your financial security. You can also check out our Online Banking Security and Safety Tips. And, of course, if you have any questions about your account security, we’re always happy to help. We are only a call away, at 1-855-331-3221.
Katahdin Trust Company. Community Banking at its Best! Since 1918. Member FDIC.