Criminals will try to steal your personal information by sending you phony emails or text messages that appear to come from legitimate companies and organizations. This is called phishing.
- Beware of emails or text messages that ask for your personal information like your Social Security Number or bank account number. Don’t reply to the email or text or click on any link. Legitimate companies will not ask you for this information this way.
- Don’t be fooled by real-looking logos or Web sites. Many phishing emails use the logo of a real company and a link to what looks like the company’s actual Web site. Past phishing emails have claimed to come from major companies such as AOL, Earthlink, Paypal, eBay, banks and credit card companies, from non-profits and charities, and from government agencies like the IRS.
- Report phishing to the real business or organization that the scammer pretends to be. Contact the company using a telephone number or Web address you know to be right, not using the contact information in the phishing email or text. Also, forward the entire email to the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Never share personal financial information by email or text message, even with someone you know and trust. Email and texts can be vulnerable to hackers. If you need to share information with a legitimate company, use a secure Web site. Look for a lock icon on the Web site and a Web address that starts with “https.”
- Use antivirus and firewall software on your computer. Don’t open any attachments or download files from emails from people you don’t know.
- Protect yourself quickly. If you respond to a phishing message, contact your bank and credit card company immediately. You could also be a victim of identity theft. Get ID theft help from Attorney General Josh Stein’s office.
We Can Help
If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact us for help or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.