by Emily Raunig

Scamming is taking on a new form to get personal information from you these days. Scammers no longer use obvious tricks to steal from you or your company. One of these forms is called phishing, and it is a common form of a social engineering attack. What exactly is phishing, and how does it affect you or your business?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, scammers use email or text messages to trick you or your company into giving out personal information. Phishing is different from other scamming techniques because the scammers’ emails and text messages look like they’re from a trustworthy company. These messages can look like they’re coming from banks, streaming services or credit card companies.

Phishing text messages and emails will often use common phrases that do not usually raise a red flag in one’s head. Emails from these scammers do not include your name. They use a generic headline, such as “Hi there.” If you have an account with the business contacting you, they will use your name. Typical components of phishing emails might contain phrases such as:
• There is a problem with your payment
• Click this link to make a payment
• We’ve noticed suspicious activity on your account
• Congratulations, you’ve won a $100 gift card
• Click on this link to receive a one-of-a-kind offer

If you suspect you received a phishing email or text message, take the following safety precautions. Review if you have an account with the company. Review some common messages that a phishing scammer may use. Suppose you have an account with this company, then contact them on their website, not on the link the email provides.

Other methods to protect yourself from phishing attacks are:
• Use software security
• Update your cell phone software often
• Back data up
• Never open files attached to unfamiliar emails
• Search the internet with the email subject line followed by the word hoax and see if anyone has reported it as a scam
• Purchase business crime insurance

To protect your business and your assets from phishing attacks, talk to your agent about purchasing insurance. TrustPoint Insurance & Real Estate offers various coverages to protect your business from robberies, copyright issues, computer fraud and more!