Most of us use email and other messaging services daily, whether it’s for work or to stay in touch with friends and family.

As technology advances, so do the methods of attack cybercriminals use to gain your information. Don’t worry, there’s no need to go back to sending messages via snail mail or carrier pigeons. We’ve put together some tips to help you spot and avoid phishing emails.

Phishing emails try to convince and trick people into providing personal data. Here are some of the signs of a potential phishing attempt and steps to protect yourself:

Be wary of unexpected emails appearing to be from people, organizations or companies you trust that ask you to click on a link and disclose personal information.

An email pretending to be a company might even contain pictures or text mimicking the company’s real emails.

What to do:
  • Before clicking on any links, hover your mouse over the link to see if it directs you to a legitimate website.
  • Don’t enter any personal, login or financial information when prompted by an unsolicited email. Remember, Starion Bank will never ask you to send your information via email.

Phishing emails often ask you to act immediately or offer something that’s too good to be true.

What to do:
  • Don’t click on any links or open email attachments you weren’t expecting.

Scammers know how to make phishing emails look legitimate.

Emails may appear to be from executive leadership at your work and request information about you or coworkers that they don’t usually request (for example, W2s).

What to do:
  • If you get phishing emails at home, delete the emails.
  • If you get phishing emails at work, let your organization’s security or Information Technology team know so they can help protect others from these scams.

Typos and vague/general wording are a red flag that an email may be a phishing attempt.

What to do:
  • Don’t respond to or forward emails you suspect to be a scam.
  • If in doubt, contact the person or organization the email claims to have been sent by using contact information you find for yourself on their official website.

Another important part of online security is sharing what you’ve learned. Please educate your parents and grandparents on these scams as they are becoming more and more common. Talk with a banker for additional tips or read more here.