Spectrum Internet

How to Identify and Report Phishing Attempts

Internet scams are an ever-present threat in our current age of technology. Phishing (pronounced "fishing") is an attempt to acquire personal information such as usernames, passwords, credit card information, and social security numbers in an effort to commit fraud. Phishing scams are often presented in the form of a phone call, email, or fraudulent website designed to steal your personal information.

How to Identify Possible Phishing Scams

Here are some simple things to look out for as possible signs of a phishing scam:

Incorrect spelling/grammar — A common practice of many scammers is to purposely use misspelled words. This tactic is used to find less savvy email/Internet users. Spammers have learned that if they get a response from a poorly written email or Internet offer, they may have found an easy target and will focus their efforts on exploiting that user to get as much information as possible.

Plain text/missing logos — Most legitimate messaging will be written in HTML format, consisting of both text and images. A poorly constructed phishing attempt may show an absence of images (particularly in emails), including the lack of the company’s logo. If an email is all plain text and looks different than what you are used to seeing from that sender, it may be an attempt to phish.

Generic greetings — Spammers often send thousands of phishing emails at one time. While they may have your email address, they don't always have your name. Be skeptical of emails that address you as "Dear Customer" or "Dear Member."

Unofficial "From" address — Look out for email address that are similar to, but not the same as, the company they claim to represent.

Foreign domains extensions Many phishing emails come from foreign countries. Be sure that the email address is from a sender you recognize. If you are prompted to click a link to respond or fill something out, hover over the link with your cursor; a pop-up is displayed, showing you the actual email address or URL. Links and email addresses that have domain extensions you don't recognize such as .po (Poland) and .ru (Russia) should be scrutinized.

Pop-up surveys or offers — Be cautious of pop-up windows while browsing the Internet. Particularly those pop-ups that present surveys and offers that include the opportunity to win a prize upon completion. Clicking on these pop-ups can infect your computer with adware or something that can affect your computer's privacy defenses.

Our Commitment to Your Security

Your security and privacy are of utmost importance to us, we will never ask you for the following via an email or unsolicited (outbound) telephone call:

  • Your social security number or tax identification number.
  • Your date of birth.
  • Your bank account information, credit card information, PIN number, or credit card security code (CVV).
  • Your mother's maiden name or other security question information, such as your pet's name or the city you were born in.
  • Your email password.
  • Your My Services password.

If you receive any suspicious email or telephone call, do not provide any of the above information. Instead, contact us directly to verify whether we needed to speak with you.

If you feel like you have been a victim if an email phishing scam, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

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Article Number: 4251

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