Can You Spot a Phishing Scam?

6 Signs Something is Phishy

Phishing attempts can come from anywhere

Posted on Oct 07, 2020

Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank and other organizations.

As people continue to use online services, the problem is only growing worse. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission’s report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $1.9 billion to these phishing schemes and other fraud in 2019—and the threat has only increased in 2020.

It’s time to put scammers in their place.

Online scams aren’t so scary when you know what to look for. We’re committed to helping you spot scams and protect your accounts.

Here are 6 signs that something’s phishy

1. Unexpected or out of the blue messages

An unsolicited call, text, or email may be the first sign of a scam. While companies may send you legitimate messages about sales and promotions, transactions, and your accounts, you should be cautious of anything that seems out of the ordinary.

If an unexpected message asks you to confirm account details, click a link to make updates, or respond with sensitive information, this is a sign something is fishy. Instead, go to the verified login page of the secure website, call the company at a confirmed service number, or visit a location in person.

2. Messages have a sense of urgency

Scammers often use fear to get you to click a link or share your personal information. They want to scare you to act before you realize something is fishy.

Scam messages may tell you to act quickly in order to prevent something terrible from happening to your accounts. They may tell you something terrible has already happened to your accounts and that you must act immediately to restore them. They may even tell you that you’ve broken the law and must act to prevent a penalty.

Always stop and think. It’s important to stay calm and evaluate the message before taking any action.

3. It seems too good to be true

Unexpected messages announcing you’ve won a prize or earned a reward are often malicious. If you didn’t participate in a verified promotion, chances are this is a scam.

Never send your account information or personal details to companies and individuals. Do not cash a check or accept a payment that’s not authorized or verified. Remember, if you have to pay, it’s not a prize. Do not wire money in order to collect a prize, verify your information, or pay for delivery.

If it seems too good to be true, it is.

4. There are links or attachments

Clicking on an infected link or opening an infected attachment can install malware and other viruses on your computer or device.

Never click a link or open an attachment from an unknown or suspicious sender. Keep your anti-virus protection software and devices up to date.

5. The sender is suspicious

Always check the sender’s email address. Often scammers will create similar addresses with just one or two letters changed or a few numbers added.

Scammers can also spoof phone numbers for calls and texts. They can make it appear that they are calling or texting from the real company number, but have no affiliation with them.

If you get an unexpected call or text from someone claiming to work for your bank or another company, get the person’s name and location. Then hang up and call back on a verified number. Banks and other providers will never get mad that you want to confirm their identity and protect your accounts.

6. There are spelling mistakes and other red flags

Spelling mistakes, weird word choices, and choppy sentences can be red flags that the message is fishy. A generic message that’s not personalized to you can be another red flag.

If something seems off or odd, trust your instincts and delete the message.

Final Thoughts

Your first line of defense is recognizing that scams are common, can target anyone, and can happen through email, phone, text, and even direct mail. Scammers are getting smarter and taking advantage of new technology, products, and world events. Scams succeed because they often look like the real thing and catch you off guard.

Protect yourself from scams.

  • Be skeptical and cautious
  • Hang up the phone or delete the email
  • Ask a friend or family member for their opinion and advice
  • Give yourself time to think, don’t feel rushed
  • When in doubt, don’t give out any information


Remember, NWSB Bank Will Never:

  • Call, email or text you asking for your Online Banking password, Wire PIN, token codes, account numbers or debit card numbers. If you receive such a call, email or text message, do NOT give out any information.
  • Direct you to a website that asks you to update your personal account information.
  • Send an email to you containing computer software updates.
  • Visit your place of business and request to perform maintenance on your computer.