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24 Sep 2017


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By Gracie Carroll

3 Types of “Ishing” Scams To Be Aware of During The Holidays

By Gracie Carroll

Gracie Carroll - 3 Types of "Ishing" Scams To Be Aware of During The Holidays

Christmas is just days away, and whether you’re in the festive spirit or not, this is a busy time of year for everyone. We’re shopping, we’re planning, we’re socializing on overload, and, unfortunately, our distractions make it a prime time for scammers to try and take advantage of us.

You might be thinking, “Yeah, right! Who would do that to people during the holidays?”, but, sadly, it’s a reality of the world we live in and I’m here to share some important tips on three major “ishing” scams that we should all be aware of (especially at this time of year) to avoid card fraud or identity theft.

Even just the other day I was visiting a website when my computer instantly received a virus warning and I was promoted to call a ‘apple’ – they provided a number and everything – to ‘protect my computer, as well as my financial banking information’. I did everything I could to get around their pop up warnings and closed the website tab as soon as I could. And guess what? My computer is still running fine! Thankfully, my banking information is still safe too.

Even this scam had me worried for a few minutes, and questioning whether I should really make the call, or not. Sometimes scams aren’t as easy to spot as you might think, so if you’re ready to brush up on what you need to know to avoid scams, here I’m sharing 3 types of “ishing” to be aware of during the holiday season and tips to protect yourself against fraud from my friends at TD Canada Trust.


1. Smishing

Gracie Carroll - 3 Types of "Ishing" Scams To Be Aware of During The Holidays

What: “Smishing” refers to text messages that are sent to your cell phone using SMS (Short Message Service) technology in an attempt to trick you into providing your personal information. The message may include a link to what looks like a legitimate website address and asks you to enter several pieces of your personal financial information, such as your credit/debit card number, CVV code on the back of your credit card, your SIN, your e-mail address or other personal information.

What Outs: In these texts, often there are spelling and grammatical errors in the text message. This is not always a red flag for fraud, but it should alert you to watch for other signs. Hyperlinks in the message should also be a flag.

Test Your Knowledge: Can you detect a fraudulent text message? Take a look at the image above for a prime example and note the overuse of exclamation marks, improper grammar, and the request to click on a website link.


2. Phishing:

Gracie Carroll - 3 Types of "Ishing" Scams To Be Aware of During The Holidays

What: Phishing refers to authentic-looking emails that appear to come from legitimate companies in an effort to “fish” or “phish” for personal and financial information. The emails direct customers to click on links that re-direct them to a fraudulent or “spoofed” websites. Once on the fraudulent site, the customer is asked to enter personal and/or financial information that is later use to commit fraud.

What Outs: When it comes to email, you should not be asked to reply to an email with personal information, login information such as usernames, passwords, PINS, identification PLUS security questions and answers, or account number because unencrypted e-mail is not secure. If you receive an email claiming to be from a financial institution and you believe it to be fraudulent, do not respond and not open or click on any links or open attachments contained within the email. If you are asked to contact a financial institution, you should find the contact information independently.

Test Your Knowledge: Can you detect “phishing” aka a fraudulent email? Take a look at the image above to be sure. You can see in the image above that the email asks you to click on a link to an unsecure website.


3. Vishing

Gracie Carroll - 3 Types of "Ishing" Scams To Be Aware of During The Holidays

What: Vishing is telephone communications made to trick you into providing your personal information (i.e. credit/debit card number, your sin, your e-mail address). They will be used to strengthen a phishing expedition.

Watch Outs: Know that as a customer you should not receive requests for personal information by unsolicited telephone calls. If you suspect the call may not be from a legitimate/financial institution, tell them you want to call them back through the toll-free number on the back of the card.

Test Your Knowledge: Can you detect a fraudulent call? Is it an unsolicited phone call? Are they asking you for personal information over the phone? If the answer is yes, hang up!


How To Protect Yourself Against Fraud

Even if you are concerned that you’ve been targeted by “ishing”, it’s important to remember that it takes both you (the customer) and your bank to work together to win against fraud. Don’t be afraid to contact your bank immediately, so long as you’re sourcing the contact information separately and safely. Here are a few more tips for how to protect yourself against fraud.

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