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Website Phishing Attempts and How to Stay Vigilant

  • June 2, 2021

Every year internet fraud is one of the most common scams, and phishing scams and other cyber threats continue to be a year-round concern. Phishing scams aim to trick people into giving away their personal information whether it’s through e-mail or a fraudulent website that claims to be legitimate. In this article, we’ll explain how to stay vigilant during website phishing scams and how to recognize if the website is legitimate. As always, our representatives are here to help keep your information safe so please reach out if you have any questions.

Staying Vigilant Against Fraudulent Websites

It’s important to be able to stay protected online and to make sure you have the tools necessary to recognize website phishing scams.

Here are some tips to help you check the authenticity of the website you are engaging with:

  • Check to see if the website is secure. A website with an address that starts with http:// is not secure. This means you should not give away any personal information on that site. Google provides a useful tool to check a website’s safety: https://transparencyreport.google.com/safe-browsing/search.
  • Make sure to check the domain name and see how long the domain has been in use. This domain tool is useful in finding out this exact information you need: https://whois.domaintools.com/.
  • While reviewing the website, do you notice any spelling or grammar mistakes? Any excess mistakes in grammar or spelling can be a giveaway to an illegitimate website. Professional companies would make sure to spend the time to have their information displayed properly and with the correct grammar.
  • If the website has contact information, be sure to do your research. Try calling the number and googling the address to see if the company is legitimate. If you do reach someone do not give personal information over the phone.
  • All legitimate websites and companies care about your safety and will have secure payment options.
  • Make sure to keep your virus protection, firewall and internet security up to date to stay protected online so you can avoid these fraudulent sites.

How To Keep Your Personal Info Safe Online

It’s important to know the steps you need to take to protect your identity over the internet, including sensitive, personal, and financial information that hackers and scammers are looking to exploit.

Keep Passwords Private and Unique

  • Create strong passwords of at least 16 characters and use a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Don’t use the same password for more than one account. A Password Manager is a great tool for keeping all your logins to different accounts in one safe and secure place. It can even generate strong passwords for you.
  • Change your passwords regularly, at least once a year.
  • Check Have I Been Pwned? to see if any of your existing passwords have been exposed in a security breach.
  • Don’t share passwords with anyone, especially via social media, email, text message, or any other written form of electronic communication.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

MFA adds an extra layer of security to your account logins by requiring the use of two or more credentials, such as a password and a temporary security code sent to your phone. You may already be required to use MFA on some of your accounts; if not, sign up where possible.

Additionally, when you use MFA you’ll receive alerts of any suspicious attempts to log in to your accounts. This is a sign that your password may have been compromised and should be changed immediately.

Examine Your Wi-Fi Set-up

  • Use a password-protected Wi-Fi connection. WPA encryption is the best for security purposes.
  • If you haven’t already, change the default password your router came with.
  • When using public Wi-Fi networks, avoid any online activity that could reveal sensitive, personal, or financial information such as online or mobile banking and online shopping.
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) whenever possible to ensure the safest online experience.

Directly Type Your Bank’s Web Address Into Your Browser

Another way to avoid clicking on a scam link is to visit the website directly by typing its address into your browser’s navigation bar. Whether it’s your bank or a popular store, be safe instead of sorry by going straight to the source.

Keep Operating Systems and Software Updated

Automate OS and software updates to make sure you’re always running the current and secure version of any OS/software you’re working off of. Don’t wait–update today!

Use Security Software

Install a reputable anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall program. Then keep it updated to protect your computer files, passwords, and data from being targeted by cyber scams.

Sign Up For Text Alerts From Your Bank or Credit Union

Most banks and credit unions offer account alerts or notifications through online and mobile banking to let you know of any suspicious activity including large withdrawals or transfers, account closures, new check orders, etc.

Inspect Your Apps

Some mobile apps could contain a malicious program disguised as a game or tool that would potentially compromise your device’s operating system and expose sensitive, personal data.

Additionally, many apps use cross permissions to connect to other apps or websites, which increases the risk of your personal information being intercepted by hackers or being part of a data leak. It’s best to remove apps and app connections/permissions when not in use.

Why Is It So Important To Be Vigilant Against Fraudulent Websites?

Unfortunately, with internet fraud and phishing scams on the rise, being vigilant is the best way to defend yourself against scammers and fraudulent websites. Recently, a scammer created a fraudulent SkyOne website in hopes of tricking members into logging into and providing their sensitive information. Fortunately, SkyOne member’s data is safe from the attempt of this website phishing attack.

The website was called suntrustone.com, and it mimicked the branding of the SkyOne.org main page. While SkyOne was able to thwart this website phishing attack, it’s important to be vigilant and follow the steps to ensure the website’s legitimacy. Ensure always to check the URL address of the site you are visiting to see if it is the correct website of the company for which you are searching.

SkyOne is here to help!

As your credit union, we care about your safety and security. We’re here to help you stay on top of your account. Using Online and Mobile Banking Alerts is a great way to get alerts on account activity. Make sure to sign up for alerts, check out our online banking tools, and download the SkyOne Mobile Banking app! Contact us with further questions through our secure messaging in online banking, by email at memberservice@skyone.org, or by phone at 800.421.7111.

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