February 7, 2023 • 4 min
Internet fraud is on the rise. In 2021, 323,972 phishing, vishing, smishing and pharming crimes were reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center1, up 34 percent from the previous year. Many of these scams used spoofing, when fraudsters pretend to be a legitimate organization or company. Read on to learn how to spot spoofing and other common methods used by scammers online.
Patelco’s website domain and email addresses always end with .org. You’ll never receive a legitimate email from a patelco.net email address or other incorrect domain.”
Spoofing is when a fraudster uses an email address, sender name, phone number or website URL to try and convince you that you’re dealing with a trusted source. Sometimes, fraudsters have the technology to trick your phone or computer into displaying legitimate contact information, like the phone number of a bank or your local sheriff’s department.
Other times, fraudsters might change as little as one letter, number or symbol in an email address, phone number or URL to trick you into thinking you’re working with a legitimate person or business. They may ask you to download malicious software, share personal information, or even send money.
Five ways to spot spoofing
Phishing scams are used to trick you into providing personal information such as logins, passwords, credit card numbers or PINs to fraudsters. They happen by email, on social media, in pop-ups and in search engine results. Some phishing scams may also use spoofing techniques to try and trick you that you’re dealing with a well-known company or organization.
In a typical phishing scam, fraudsters are trying to get you to part with personal information, or to install malware or viruses (which will be used to steal personal information) on your computer or mobile device.
Four ways to stay safe from phishing scams
Vishing scams happen over the phone or voice mail. Like phishing, the end goal is to steal money or personal information through deception. Some vishing scams may also use spoofing techniques such as spoofed caller ID information to trick you into thinking it’s a legitimate or known business calling you.
With as many as 68.4 million Americans reporting losing money in phone scams in 2021, it’s also particularly tough to spot. The calls seem legitimate because the fraudsters often know specific details about you — information they’ve pulled from other sources.
Five ways to protect yourself from vishing scams
Smishing, also known as SMS phishing, is another type of scam that relies on text messages, often ones that look like they came from someone you trust like your boss, the IRS or your bank. With smishing, fraudsters want to fool you into clicking a link and sharing personal information on a spoofed website.
To protect yourself from smishing attacks, filter messages from unknown senders or enable spam protection on your phone.
Four ways to identify a smishing text
Like the other online scams, pharming attacks are meant to steal your private information. Pharming may manipulate or redirect the traffic from a legitimate website, such as through spoofed websites or misleading posts or ads on a legitimate website. Pharming may also use malware, spyware, ransomware or adware to install malicious code on a computer or server, which can send you to a fake website, where you may be tricked into entering your login details, Social Security number, or other sensitive information.
Pharming can be difficult to spot and avoid, but regularly monitoring your financial and social accounts can help you spot if you may be a victim.
Five ways to tell you may be a victim of pharming
Don’t be fooled by a scammer. Look for these warning signs to identify a possible scam and protect yourself!
We’ve all had that feeling—do I click on that? Who’s calling me? Learn what is phishing, how does it work, and how to identify and avoid phishing scams
Fraudsters are increasingly impersonating banks and credit unions, making calls or sending texts and pretending to be from Patelco or another institution. Learn the things that Patelco will never call and ask you.
1 Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Report 2021