How to Recognise and Avoid Phishing Scams

Scammers use email or text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information. They may try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could gain access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks every day, and they're often successful. But there are several things you can do to protect yourself.


Scammers use familiar company names or pretend to be someone you know. They ask you to click on a link or give passwords or bank account numbers. If you click on the link, they can install programs that lock you out of your computer and steal your personal information. They pressure you to act immediately, or something bad will happen.


Check it out.

Look up the website or phone number for the company or person who's contacting you. Call that company or person directly. Use a number you know to be correct, not the number in the email or text. Tell them about the message you got

Look for scam tip-offs such as:

  • You don't have an account with the company.
  • The message is missing your name or uses bad grammar and spelling.
  • The person asks for personal information, including passwords.

NOTE: some phishing schemes are sophisticated and look very real, so check it out and protect yourself.

Just place your cursor on the link you have been asked to click to verify the web address.


  • Keep your computer security up to date by installing antivirus, updating it regularly, and backing up your data.
  • Consider multi-factor authentication – a second step to verify who you are, as a text with a code – for accounts that support it.
  • Change any compromised passwords right away, and don't use them for any other accounts.