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Tips to avoid phishing scam

Posted February 26, 2009

Attorney General Roy Cooper offered consumers these tips to avoid falling victim to a phishing scam.

Beware of emails, calls or text messages that ask for personal information like your Social Security Number or bank account number. Don’t reply, click on any links or open any attachments. Clicking on these links or attachments can infect your computer with spyware or viruses.

Don’t be fooled by real-looking logos or Web sites. Many phishing emails use the logo of a real company and a link to what looks like the company's actual Web site. Phishing emails may claim to come from major companies, banks, non-profits and government agencies.

Report it. Report suspect emails, calls or text messages to the real business or organization from which the scammer pretends to be. Contact the company using a telephone number or Web address you know to be valid, such as contact information listed on a recent bill or account statement. If the message comes by email, forward it to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov.

Never share personal financial information with someone you don’t know who calls you.

Never share personal information by email or text message, even with someone you know and trust. Email and text messages can be vulnerable to hackers. If you need to share information with a legitimate company, use a secure web site. Look for a lock icon on the Web site and a Web address that starts with “https.”

Use antivirus and firewall software on your computer. Don’t open any attachments or download files that come from people you don’t know.

If you’ve responded to a phishing scam, protect yourself quickly. Contact your bank and credit card company immediately. You could also be a victim of identity theft. You can get ID theft help from the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by visiting www.noscamnc.govor by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll free within North Carolina.


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