Cyber Security—How to Spot Phishing Emails

Charles Brown, CFA

Cyber criminals are increasingly using emails or malicious websites to solicit personal information by posing as a trustworthy organization. Cyber attackers send emails from what looks like a reputable credit card company or financial institution that requests account information, often suggesting that there is a problem. When users respond with the requested information, attackers can use it to gain access to the accounts.

How can you avoid becoming a victim of a Phishing scam?

  • Do not respond to emails requesting personal or financial information. This includes following links sent in emails.
  • Pay attention to the URL of a website (the website address that appears at the top left of your screen). Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL (address) may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com vs. .net).
  • If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Do not use contact information provided on a website connected to the request.
  • Install and maintain anti-virus software, firewalls, and email filters to reduce some of this traffic.

If you think you have received a suspicious email report it immediately to your financial institution.

Fidelity.com has provided a brief video on Phishing scams and how to protect your personal and financial information. If you wish to view it please go to https://www.fidelity.com/security/look-out-for-suspicious-emails. You do not need to be a Fidelity client in order to watch this informative video.

Do not hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns about how we protect your accounts or the steps you and your family can take to better protect yourselves and mitigate risk. As always, we appreciate the opportunity to help you achieve your financial goals.

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