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Watch For Scams Newsletter. Avoid Phishing Scams
August 12, 2020

Avoid Phishing Scams

Watch For Scams is dedicated to helping you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

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Avoid Phishing Scams

Tips on how to avoid phishing scams while working from home.

These can come in the form of prize offers, threatened punishments, or something completely mundane like a file from the office scanner.

Use caution when opening unsolicited or unexpected communications asking for personal information or to download an attachment.

How the Scam Works:

Con artists have a creative array of cover stories to disguise their true intentions. Phishing messages typically use one of three methods to fool victims,:

The message promises a reward (a gift card, free item),

Threatens a punishment (unpaid taxes, missed jury duty, bank account issue), or

Appears entirely mundane (a file from the office scanner or from a coworker).

Phishing scams tend to follow a pattern. The victim receives an email, phone call or text message (called “smishing” or SMS phishing). In the communication, the scammer urges the target to click a link, share information, or download an attachment which likely contains malware. In the case of an email or text, the link frequently leads to a form, which prompts the target to enter personal information.

A few tips to avoid these phishing scams:

Be cautious of generic emails. Scammers try to cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake emails. Always be wary of unsolicited messages that don’t contain your name, last digits of your account number or other personalizing information.

Don’t click, download, or open anything that comes from an anonymous sender. This is likely an attempt to gain access to your personal information or install malware on your computer.

Don’t click on links in an unexpected email. If something sounds suspicious, confirm it by calling the company directly or checking the company website. Be sure to type the URL for the company into your browser or do a web search to find the right website.

If you believe you have been a victim of this type of scam you should promptly report it to the IC3's website at The IC3's complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration.

Remember - always watch for scams!


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