Phishing emails are designed to look like legitimate messages from actual banks, businesses, and other organizations. In reality, though, scammers create the message usually in an effort to steal your money, identity, or both. They want you to click on links that will take you to a website that looks authentic but is really just there to capture your credit card or other personal information or perhaps to distribute malware. Some emails look authentic, featuring corporate logos and layouts similar to institutions used for legitimate communication. Because these emails can look so official, unsuspecting recipients may reply to them or take action, resulting in financial losses, identity theft and other fraudulent activity. Banking fraud comes in many different forms. Some of the most common ways cybercriminals try to get access to your banking information is through suspicious emails, texts or online activity.
Phishing is a type of fraud in which criminals try to gain access to your banking information through fake emails and texts. Phishing emails tend to use a language that creates a sense of urgency in order to get you to react without even thinking. Some examples:
- Urgently requires you to enter personal information from the email link
- Claims that your account has been compromised or there has been fraudulent activity and requests you to login to verify
- Intimidates you by threatening to close your account if you do not provide or verify personal information
- Claims the bank has lost important security information and needs you to update immediately
There are also Interac E-Transfer branded phishing emails targeting clients of all financial institutions. These emails generally offer refunds from tax authorities or large companies to try and make you select a link and provide personal information. Don’t select any buttons or links directly from the email. If you are receiving an unexpected payment offer email, it is probably a scam.
Phishing scams are common, but there are ways to spot them before it’s too late. First, it’s important to know that a legitimate company will never ask you to give sensitive information by email. Financial institutions will never send you unsolicited emails asking for confidential information, such as your password, PIN, Access Code, credit card and account numbers. They will never ask you to validate or restore your account access through email or pop-up windows. If you are ever unsure or second guessing an email or pop-up, please call your Financial Institution right away and speak with a customer service representative.