Digital Threats


According to, phishing refers to the process where a targeted individual is contacted by email or telephone by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure the individual into providing sensitive information such as banking information, credit card details, and passwords. The personal information is then used to access the individual’s account and can result in identity theft and financial loss.

Phishing emails are one of the most common forms of phishing attacks, especially when they appear to come from one's financial institution. The e-mails claim that you have been locked out of your account and want you to verify your identity, but they are really scams trying to steal your identity.

If you receive an e-mail from a seemingly legitimate organization, which may include an authentic-looking sender address and/or official organization logos, look at it closely for the following tell-tale signs of phishing:

  • The e-mail asks for your personal account information and threatens negative action if you don’t provide it.
  • The e-mail is generically addressed or uses phrases that don’t make sense.
  • The e-mail includes a link that it says you must click on.

If you suspect the e-mail is fraudulent, contact the purported to verify its authenticity. DO NOT respond to the e-mail or click on any of its links.

Example Phishing Email


Vishing scams involve two methods. In the first, a consumer receives a call, often automated, claiming their credit card or bank account privacy is compromised, directing them to call back for verification. The second type sends an email, resembling phishing, instructing the victim to call a specified number. When the consumer calls, they encounter an automated system prompting them to enter sensitive details, unknowingly recorded by the scammer.


Similar to phishing, smishing utilizes text messages to deceive consumers, often containing URLs or phone numbers with automated voice systems. Messages typically demand immediate attention. Smishing may originate from a "5000" number, indicating it was sent via email to the cell phone.

Please look to the Federal Trade Commission or for more information on digital threats.