Spot the signs of a scam

Watch for deals that sound too good to be true, phony job ads, notices that you have won a lottery, or requests to help a distant stranger transfer funds. Other clues include urgent messages (“Your account will be closed!”), misspellings, and grammatical errors.

  1. Think before you click to visit a website or call a number in a suspicious email or phone message—both could be phony.
  2. Be cautious with links to video clips and games, or open photos, songs, or other files—even if you know the sender. Check with the sender first.

Look for signs that a web page is safe

Before you enter sensitive data, check for evidence that:

  1. The site uses encryption, a security measure that scrambles data as it crosses the Internet. Good indicators that a site is encrypted include a web address with https (“s” stands for secure) and a closed padlock beside it. (The lock might also be in the lower-right corner of the window.)Missing
  2. You are at the correct site—for example, at your bank’s website, not a phony website. If you are using Internet Explorer, one sign of trustworthiness is a green address bar like the one above.

Use a phishing filter

Find a filter that warns you of suspicious websites and blocks visits to reported phishing sites. For example, try the SmartScreen Filter included in Internet Explorer.

TipTip If you have been a victim of identity theft, find out what you can do about it.