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Keep identity thieves from “phishing” through your email

If you have an email account, you are phish. Every hour of every day, someone is trying to catch you in a potentially devastating game of online identity theft called phishing. It starts with an email that typically appears to be from a company you’ve done business with or an organization or individual you know. The message will often require an immediate response to protect your interests or deliver on some financial benefit. Just click here.

But don’t take the bait. 91% of successful data breaches started with a phishing attack. Since 2003, more than 1 in 8 Americans have “clicked here,” exposing their online lives to the “bait-and-switch” tactics of identity thieves. The financial impact is dramatic as more than $3 billion in assets are drained from their collective accounts annually.

Spam that’s armed with a spear

The proliferation of spam filters, designed to screen these deceptive emails out of your inbox before you see them, certainly provides some welcomed protection. But it can also lull you into a false sense of security. “A lot of people are prone to think that anything that isn’t filtered as junk mail is safe mail,” says Nicole Henley, Information Security Officer at Emprise Bank. “But just as our security filters have improved over time, so have the methods employed by phishing thieves. Spear phishing is now the state of the art, and it’s very hard not to be taken in by these very customized, personal messages.”

Where once phishing involved the casting of a very wide net with to achieve a relatively low response rate, today’s identity thieves are tapping social media sources to learn more about their targets. The messages they craft are laced with information drawn from your online posts, making them more enticing precisely because they appear to be more relevant to your life.

How to tell if an email looks “phishy”

A little awareness can go a long way to keep you from swimming into a phisherman’s net. But you can also fight back against the rising tide of fraudulent emails by reporting them to the business or organization they are impersonating. At Emprise Bank, we take these attempts to breach the security of your information very seriously. We encourage you to contact us immediately if you ever receive a bogus email that appears to be from us.