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What is phishing and how can I protect myself?

December 1, 2019     3 Minute Read

Phishing attempts are meant to deceive consumers into believing that a request (typically a password reset or personal info) is coming from a legitimate source. In reality, it's a scam and it's fraud.

Phishing: A scam that uses fraudulent messages that appear to come from a legitimate, trustworthy source in order to lure users into submitting personal or financial information. The information is unlawfully collected in order to commit fraud. Phishing attempts usually take on the form of emails, phone calls, texts, websites and popup messages. They can even happen in-person, by fax or through postal mail. Awareness and caution are your best defense against a phishing attack. Know how to spot an attempt, and what steps to take, with our phishing do’s and don’ts:

  • DO remember that Coastal Community would never solicit confidential personal or financial information through regular, unencrypted email.
  • Unsolicited emails should always be considered suspicious. DON'T reply to or click on links or attachments (PDFs or JPGs for example) in an email. Same goes for links within popup messages.
  • DON'T send personal or financial information via unsecured email or by phone, even if the caller ID seems legitimate.
  • DO use anti-virus software, spyware and a firewall at all times, and keep them up to date. Remember to also update your web browser (browser filters can help detect fake websites) and your apps.
  • DO be cautious about opening attachments or downloading files from emails even when you know who sent them. These files can contain viruses, ransomware, scareware or spyware that can undermine your computer’s security—leaving your passwords and personal data at risk.
  • DO review your account activity regularly to ensure that all transactions are legitimate. An effective way to monitor is through our Alerts system, which are account activity and security alerts sent directly to your phone or email. Set them up through the Alerts tab on online or mobile banking.
  • DO set up the Interac e-Transfer AutoDeposit service so that you won’t have to wonder if that Interac link you received is legit or not. 
  • If you receive a suspicious email or popup message reportedly from Coastal Community, DO contact us to verify its legitimacy:
    • Use our secure ‘Contact Us’ online form
    • Phone us toll-free at 1.888.741.1010

Remember, in case of doubt, contact the sender using a channel NOT included in the request. Use contact information from your own bookmarks, do a separate internet search, or call using the phone number on file or on the back of your bank card. For the latest fraud bulletins, follow the Government of Canada’s Anti-Fraud Centre on Twitter: @canantifraud or visit their website