At first glance, the emails may look legitimate, containing warnings about accounts that need updating, or packages that need to be delivered.
But, upon closer inspection, the emails from a bank, online pay site or delivery service are clearly bogus.
It’s called “phishing,” the mass-spamming of millions of email accounts by fraudsters who hope a few recipients nibble and turn over valuable information: passwords, account numbers, you name it.
“The best thing to do when you receive these emails is to not respond to them and immediately contact your financial institution,” said Chris Catania, a Wells Fargo senior vice president “They’re then able to use your information to make purchases on line. If you give them your information, say your online banking information, they’ll be able to go right online and possibly transfer your money into other accounts.”
“The best thing to do when you receive these emails is to not respond to them and immediately contact your financial institution,” Catania said.
One technique phishers use, he said, is intentionally misspelling a key word or two, an attempt to avoid detection by filtering systems in email servers.
For instance, an email sent to Team 6 Investigators purportedly from Wells Fargo spells the bank’s name “Wells Fago” in an email address. A filter would be less likely to keep out a brand name it does not recognize.
“As they become more technologically advanced, it is becoming more on the rise and that’s why it’s very important to protect yourself as much as possible,” Catania said.
He suggested those concerned about phishing should review these tips from the Wells Fargo website.