Hackers will use every trick in the book to try to steal your information. The good news is, online scams aren’t so scary when you know what to look for. Stellar Bank is committed to helping you understand phishing schemes, so you are able to spot them quickly. This is why we’ve partnered with the American Bankers Association and banks across the country in a nationwide effort to enlighten our community on hacker ploys. The more scam spotters there are out there, the harder it is for hackers to catch their next victim!
How Hackers Do It
Hackers rely on social engineering, which is the act of manipulating you into divulging confidential information or performing actions that aren’t in the best interest for you or your organization. Their goal is to obtain your trust and then use that relationship to trick you into giving them what they want.
Being aware of warning signs can help you to protect yourself and your organization from an attack. Always be suspicious and keep your eyes open. When you encounter a red flag, make sure that you stop, look, and think before you take an action.
Here are some of the ways hackers can try to steal your information:
Fake Profiles: These look like legitimate social media profiles, often with connections you recognize. They will contact you and attempt to trick you into taking an action that benefits them.
Pretexting: Someone contacting you and lying about who they are to trick you into giving them something they want.
Sense of Urgency: A time-sensitive request that urgently needs you to take some type of action. This could be a message from your boss that says if you don’t wire funds to a client in the next hour, an important account will be lost.
Vishing: It’s like phishing, but over the phone (voice phishing = vishing). It could be an official-sounding call or voice message asking you to provide information or take an action.
Smishing: It’s like phishing, but through text messages [Short Message Service (SMS) phishing = smishing]. It could be an unexpected text message asking you to verify some information by opening a link.
Phishing: Using malicious emails that are disguised as legitimate in order to trick you into providing sensitive information or taking a potentially dangerous action. This could look like an email from your bank asking you to open an attachment to review some “suspicious” charges.
Signs of Email Phishing
- The subject line creates a sense of urgency
- The email has a generic greeting, such as “Hello User”
- You don’t recognize the sender’s email address
- The closing request calls for immediate action
- The email contains misspelled words
How to Stay Safe
When it comes to managing your online security, being proactive is critical. Here are some actions that you can take to help keep you and your organization safe:
- If a request seems suspicious, call the person directly to verify it’s legitimate
- Be cautious before sharing any personal or organizational information. Always lock/secure your devices before walking away from them. Don’t leave mobile devices unattended.
- Keep your desk clean and lock things up when they're not in use. Always stop, look, and think before you take any action
- Always hover the mouse over the link to find out where it will take you before clicking it
- Have strong passwords. Make your passphrase easy to remember, but hard to guess. The more random the passphrase, the harder it becomes to crack
Fun fact: a password 8 characters in length takes two days to crack, a password 10 characters in length takes 26 years to crack and one 15 characters in length takes 24,448,950,223 years to crack!
If you believe that you have received a fraudulent message asking for your Stellar banking information, be sure to contact Stellar Bank to confirm the validity of the message. For additional online safety resources visit www.stopthinkconnect.org or www.BanksNeverAskThat.com.