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How to spot and report phishing emails

a man checks his emails to make sure there are no scams

Email scams are more common than you’d think, with a whopping 96% of all phishing attacks coming through our email inboxes. Cybercriminals often go to great lengths to make their emails appear as if they’re coming from your bank, which is why it’s important to stay informed in order to keep our accounts safe. Here are some essential steps to protect yourself:

Be suspicious of every email:

You know how defensive driving prevents car accidents? The same concept applies to email scams. By treating every incoming email as a potential risk, you can better protect yourself from falling for a phishing scam. Phishing emails can be incredibly convincing, mimicking official language, logos, and even URLs that closely resemble those of your bank. Stay sharp and always question the authenticity of any suspicious messages.

Avoid clicking sketchy links:

If you receive an email pressuring you to click a link – whether it's to confirm your login details or make a payment – be cautious. Banks will never request such sensitive actions through email. Instead of taking the bait and clicking the link, hover your cursor over the link to reveal its actual destination. When in doubt, take the safe route and contact your bank directly or type their website URL into your browser.

Be wary of scare tactics:

Legitimate banks will not play mind games and resort to scare tactics, threats, or high-pressure language. But you know who will? Scammers! If you receive an email that demands immediate action and gets your heart racing, that’s your cue to pause. Regardless of how convincing the email may appear, never share personal information like your password, PIN, or social security number.

Secure your devices:

Keeping your devices and operating systems up to date with the latest security patches is a fundamental step in maintaining effective cybersecurity. Regular updates can help protect your device from security threats, ensuring you are equipped to defend against cybercriminals.

Watch for attachments and typos:

It's important to note that your bank will never send you unexpected email attachments, like PDF files. Also, keep an eye out for emails with typos and poor grammar, which are clear signs of phishing scams. Banks maintain a high level of professionalism in their communications, so trust your instincts whenever things don’t sound right.

Did you get scammed?

If you find yourself caught in the phishing net of an email scam, here's your action plan:

  1. Change your password: If you clicked on a link from a phishing email and entered your personal information into a fake site, take back the power and immediately change your password.
  2. Contact your bank: Reach out to your bank by using the official contact information provided on your bank card or visiting their website. Tell them about the scam and ask for their guidance in keeping your account safe. (To contact Academy Bank’s Client Care, call 877-712-2265; Monday - Friday, from 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM, Central Time).
  3. File a police report: If you've suffered financial losses due to the scam, consider filing a police report. This not only helps in potential legal proceedings but also raises awareness about the issue.
  4. File a complaint with the FTC: Join the collective fight against these scammers. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) either online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Your report helps the good guys track down the scammers and take action.

Staying cautious and making informed decisions is your best defense in the online world. By following these practical steps, you can significantly reduce your vulnerability to phishing email scams and know how to take the right steps if you ever encounter one.

How does your bank keep your money safe?

At Academy Bank, your financial security is our #1 priority. In fact, our Select Rewards Checking Account has safeguards to help combat phishing scams, including:

  • Identity theft reimbursement coverage (See Insurance Disclosure)
  • Comprehensive identity theft resolution services
  • Credit file monitoring
  • Credit report and score
  • Identity monitoring
  • Dark web monitoring

Looking for more cybersecurity tips and practices? Check out the Education section of our website, or catch up on our previous phishing blogs about text message scams and phone call scams.

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INSURANCE DISCLOSURE: Insurance products are NOT insured by FDIC or any Federal Government Agency; NOT a deposit of or guaranteed by the bank or any bank affiliate. Coverage is provided through the company named in the Guide to Benefit or on the certificate of insurance.