Saturday, March 21, 2015


Hook, Line & Stinker  

Online phishing scams soak the unsuspecting

By Erin Nesci, Prospera Credit Union/File photo


ith cyber-crimes on the rise, it’s important to know how to protect yourself. March is Fraud Prevention Month and every Friday Prospera Credit Union is sharing tips on social media to help you avoid getting scammed. They’ve also put together a short primer on one of the most common scams around: phishing.


What is Phishing?

Phishing is a general term for emails, text messages and websites designed to look like they come from well-known and trusted businesses, financial institutions and government agencies in an attempt to collect personal, financial and sensitive information. The messages may appear to be from an organization you do business with – like a bank or utility companies. They might threaten to close your account or take other action if you don’t respond. Usually, they include a request for you to either reply or follow a link to a site that often looks identical to the service the email is mimicking. Financial institutions, Ebay and Paypal are traditional targets.


How can I avoid phishing scams?

• Never send passwords, bank account numbers, social insurance numbers or other private information in an email. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information.

• Avoid clicking links in emails, especially emails that are requesting private information.

• Be wary of any unexpected email attachments or links, even from people you know.

• Never enter private or personal information into a pop-up window.

• Look for “https://” and a lock icon in the address bar before entering any private information on a website.

• Install and regularly update an anti-virus program that can scan email.

What should I do if I have been scammed by phishing?

Contact the organization that was the target of the scam to change any private information such as passwords or account numbers immediately. If you suspect a bank or credit card account may have been compromised, contact that institution to check your account immediately and request a credit report.


Where can I get more information?

The RCMPprovide excellent information on recognizing, reporting and stopping email fraud and phishing. The Federal Trade Commission also has helpful examples of phishing messages and action steps to take to avoid phishing scams.


About Prospera Credit Union

Building on more than 65 years of history in British Columbia, Prospera Credit Union is proud to be a member owned co-operative with operations from Vancouver to Kelowna. As a full service financial institution that prides itself on building relationships, we serve our members through sixteen branches; online and mobile banking; and a locally-based contact centre. Through our membership in The Exchange network, our members enjoy fee-free access to more than 2,300 ATMs across Canada.


Making life better for everyone is important to us at Prospera. With an extensive community investment program devoted to supporting the organizations, events and volunteers that make our communities stronger, Prospera makes a meaningful difference in the financial well-being of our members and our communities. To learn more, check out our YouTube channel and Facebook page or visit our newsroom online at




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