Phishing, Smishing, Vishing
Phishing is a term referring to emails used as bait to "fish" for your financial information such as credit card numbers, bank and credit union account information, and social security numbers. These emails are unsolicited and may appear to be from legitimate companies that you deal with on a regular basis. They will typically ask you to “confirm” personal or account information such as your account number, credit card number or social security number, by replying to the email or linking to a fake website. The messages often include some language about urgency, closed accounts or the fact that your account has been disabled. The sole purpose of these phishing emails is to trick you into divulging your personal/financial information so it can be used to commit further fraud or identity theft. If you are unsure, call the phone number on your statement or enter the website address you would normally use to access your accounts in order to verify the authenticity of the message.
SMISHING & VISHING
Smishing and vishing are scams similar to phishing mentioned above but are perpetrated via the telephone. Smishing utilizes text messaging via a cell phone to achieve the same results. The sender provides an urgent reason for obtaining your private data, usually credit card numbers, security codes or social security numbers. With Smishing scams, you may be provided with a phone number to call or be requested to click on a link that could contain malicious code or may direct you to a fraudulent site.
Vishing is an actual phone call or voice mail message appearing to come from a legitimate company based on the caller ID you see. The trick is that the caller ID is phony. You may receive a phone message or even speak to an actual person who requests personal/account information, etc. They’ll make it seem urgent that you act now to protect your information from further compromise. You’ll be asked to enter the requested information via the touch pad on your phone, but instead of going to a legitimate call center, the information is used to commit identity theft or initiate unauthorized debits to your account.
If anything about the call or the message makes you suspicious, get the person or company’s contact information and call Bellwether using our regular published phone number. Do not use the phone number or email address provided by the caller or the text message.