Phishing is the act of sending someone an email and falsely claiming to be a legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into providing private information that will be used for identity theft. The email directs the receiver to visit a fraudulent ("spoofed") web site where he/she is requested to update or enter personal information, such as passwords, credit card, social security and bank account numbers.
View examples of actual phishing attempts:
- Be wary of any email with an urgent request for personal financial information.
- Be wary of emails that have some personal information. Phishers are becoming more sophisticated and may include some stolen personal information in an attempt to gain your trust.
Avoid being a victim of phishing or identity theft attempts
- Never respond to an email requesting personal information.
- Only communicate information, such as credit card numbers or account information via a secure web site or through a phone call you initiate. Ensure that the site's URL starts with https:// when passing sensitive information and look for a lock/key symbol in the lower right-hand corner of your browser window.
- Regularly log on to your online accounts and check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure all transactions are legitimate. Early detection is critical in reducing fraud. An advantage of online banking is the ease of regularly checking your account activity.
- When in doubt contact your financial institution or vendor directly.
Report phishing attempts
If you receive a phishing attempt through your home computer, contact the FTC at firstname.lastname@example.org. The FTC also has information on their web site at www.ftc.gov, if you suspect you have been a victim of identity theft. To contact Zions Bank, call 800-840-4999 (Mon. to Sat. from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sun. from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. MT.).