From posing as door-to-door salesmen to representing credit card companies with fraudulent offers, scammers come in various forms. Phishing is the act of using electronic messaging—via email, texting or otherwise—to obtain an individual’s personal information. Phishing scammers may pose as a well-known company or a government entity appearing to have good intentions. They often provide a link or a phone number and request information like usernames, passwords and even Social Security Numbers.
Recently, FINRA warned its members of a phishing scam that requests the recipient should open an attachment. This attachment then leads the member to a sign-in screen requesting a username and password. If you received a similar email and entered your username and password, the FINRA recommends you change your information as soon as possible and then report to your appropriate FINRA or firm contact.
If you are unsure whether you have fallen victim to this scam, note also that the email also comes from an address that is not associated with the organization.
Tips for avoiding phishing scams
When scammers are successful, some of your most vital assets may become compromised. They may even obtain access to your bank accounts. Consider the following tips to avoid scammers:
- Update your personal and/or professional computer with recent security software
- Take advantage of all web authentication options for your accounts
- Update your cellphone automatically
- Regularly back up your data in a separate cloud or hard drive
Even with updated systems, no one is completely protected from phishing. Everything from the language of the digital message to the color of the coinciding logo may be a red flag for a potential scam. Err on the side of caution at even the slightest hint of suspicion.
If you have experienced losses due to a scam, consider reaching out to an experienced attorney to discuss your legal options.