Don’t Take the Bait – Protect Yourself from Phishing Scams

Phishing is a type of online scam designed to get valuable personal data from you – like your Social Security number, credit card numbers, passwords, account data and other personal identifying information.

Every day, scammers send out millions of fraudulent emails that claim to come from websites you likely trust, like a bank or credit card company, and then request your personal information. They then steal your personal information, leaving you the victim of a phishing scam.

Watch out for these phrases that help identify fraudulent emails:

  • “Verify your account.”
  • Any legitimate business will not ask you to send passwords, login names, Social Security numbers or any other personal information via email.
  • “If you don’t respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed.”
  • They are attempting to create a sense of urgency so you feel like you don’t have time to verify their information through the proper channels.
  • “Dear Valued Customer.”
  • Phishing messages are generally sent out as mass emails and aren’t personalized.
  • “Click the link below to gain access to your account.”
  • The website address looks real, but if you hold your cursor over it, you’ll see a new website address pop up that looks nothing like the original. This is the “real” site you are going to.

Protect yourself.

The FTC recommends the following tips:

  • Do not hit “reply”

Contact the company or agency cited in the email directly by telephone or  visit their website.

  • Be cautious about emailing your personal information

A padlock icon or “https” in the website address means your information should be secure.

  • Review statements ASAP

Review your credit card and account statements for invalid charges. If the             statement is noticeably late, call your credit card company or Mountain         Community to confirm billing address and account balances.

  • Report “phishy” emails to the FTC

Forward suspicious emails to If you believe you are a victim of an    email scam, file a complaint with the FTC at and click on           the “File a Complaint” button at the top.

If you ever suspect any type of suspicious activity, report it to the proper authorities immediately. Contact the actual bank, credit union, company or government agency to confirm whether the email or Web site is legitimate.

As a reminder, HFCU will NEVER send you an email asking for your personal information. If you get one that claims to be from us, report it immediately!