From the desk of Ryan Morris – Information Security officer, The First National Bank and Trust of Newtown, PA
In today’s world, technology has made it easier for scammers and fraudsters to target unsuspecting individuals. One of the most common methods used by these criminals is caller ID spoofing. This is when the scammer manipulates their phone number to make it look like they’re calling from a legitimate organization, such as a bank or government agency. They do this to gain your trust and convince you to divulge personal and financial information.
Another method used by these criminals is bank impersonation phone calls. In this scam, the fraudster pretends to be an employee of your bank or credit card company and calls you to ask for sensitive information such as your account number, social security number, or PIN. They may even threaten to freeze your account or charge you fees if you do not comply with their requests.
Phishing emails are another danger to be aware of. These emails are designed to look like they’re from a reputable organization, such as your bank, credit card company, or online retailer. They often contain a sense of urgency or ask you to verify personal information. Clicking on links in these emails can lead to malware being installed on your device or to a fake website designed to steal your login credentials.
To protect yourself from these scams, there are several steps you can take. Firstly, be wary of unsolicited calls or emails asking for personal or financial information. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from your bank or a government agency, hang up and call the organization directly using the number listed on their official website. Do not use the phone number provided by the caller as it may be part of the scam.
Secondly, never share personal or financial information over the phone or in response to an email. Legitimate organizations will never ask you for this information via email or unsolicited phone calls.
Thirdly, pay attention to the details. Check the sender’s email address and look for spelling and grammatical errors in emails. If the email asks you to click on a link, hover over the link to see where it leads before clicking on it.
Fourthly, use caller ID blockers and spam filters to screen incoming calls and emails. Most smartphones have these features built-in, and many email providers have spam filters that can be activated to reduce the number of phishing emails you receive.
Lastly, stay informed about the latest scams and security threats. Keep an eye on news articles and official sources such as government websites and consumer protection agencies. Knowing what to look out for can help you avoid falling victim to these scams.
In conclusion, caller ID spoofing, bank impersonation phone calls, and phishing emails are serious threats to your personal and financial security. By being aware of these scams and taking the necessary precautions, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these fraudsters. Stay vigilant, and don’t hesitate to contact your bank or law enforcement if you suspect you have been targeted by a scam.