How to outsmart email “phishing” scams


“Phishing” scams have become a real problem in recent years. Phishing is when you receive an email from a company, requesting more information on your account, or indicating there was a problem with a recent purchase, etc. But in reality, the email is just a cleverly disguised scam, designed to glean information from you that will ultimately empty your wallet.

The email may look completely valid, with all the appropriate logos and website links. They may even have a toll-free number to call with “customer service” people answering the phones with the company name — but it’s all a big ruse!

According to the Wall Street Journal, banks, email providers and retailers like Ebay are banding together to devise new ways for their customers to know for certain whether an email is legitimate or not. Solutions should be coming down the pike soon.

But what should you do in the meantime? Follow Clark’s scam prevention method.

Phishing emails will always contain a link to a website, or a toll free number to call. Don’t call, and never click the link — not even if it seems legitimate.  Instead, go to the company’s website. (Not via the link–type the web address into your browser’s address bar.) Sign in, and go to your account. If there is truly an urgent message for you from the company, you’ll see it there. Or, get the actual customer support number from the true website, and call that number–not the bogus one provided in the email. It’s a simple but foolproof way to outsmart the conmen.

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