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5 Tips to Avoid Being the Victim of a Phishing Scam

Every day, it can seem like there is another news story of someone who had their personal information compromised because of a phishing scam. These scams can be very effective because often, when someone releases one small bit of their personal data, it can put even more at risk. At Atlantic Union Bank (AUB), we’ve pulled together this list of five actions you can take to help protect yourself from scammers.

  1. Be careful when clicking links.
    If you aren’t sure where a link goes or who it came from, you probably shouldn’t click it. This is especially true if you receive an unsolicited email or text message. If there is no explanation of where a link is going, or if the body of the message is very short and only invites you to click a link, there’s a good chance it’s a scam. If you’re not sure if a link is legitimate, try to find the link on your own, through Google or the provider's website.
  2. Check the sender.
    If someone has reached out to you asking for information, make sure you’re confident that they are who they say they are. Some scammers have developed the ability to spoof phone numbers, so be wary of incoming calls. If you’re not certain if a call is legit, you can always hang up and call back. If you know the phone number from an independent source, use that to call back, so you can know for certain that you’ve reached the correct person or organization.
  3. Choose different passwords for every account.
    One way to make sure that any data breach doesn’t have a large impact is to use a different password for every account you have. That way, if one is somehow compromised, the scammers will only have access to one account. One way to handle having a large number of accounts, and therefore passwords, can be to get a password manager. These can help you keep track of passwords easier. Remember, AUB will never ask for your password over phone, text or email.
  4. Use multi-factor authentication.
    When possible, use multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA often takes the form of a code texted to your phone or emailed to you, so you can prove you are the account holder through a different method than just a password. This type of security is important because it means that, if your password was to be compromised, a scammer would still not be able to access your account because they would need another type of authentication to get in.
  5. Trust your instincts.
    With fraudsters constantly updating their methods, there’s no way to warn you against every possible scam method. However, one thing that will always be true is that, if you suspect something is off, it probably is. If you have someone asking for information that you don’t think they need (especially a password or an MFA code), it’s probably a good idea not to give them that information. That is especially true if they are rushing you or threatening you with dire consequences if you don’t give them your data.

We hope that you find these tips to be helpful. If you want more information about fraud, visit our Security and Fraud Center – our experts keep that updated with advice for avoiding scams. You can also learn more from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The fight against fraud requires everyone to remain vigilant and informed so that personal data is protected.

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