According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), "Phishing" is a high-tech scam that uses spam or pop-up messages to deceive you into disclosing your credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, password or other sensitive information. These messages, may ask you to "update," "validate," or "confirm" your personal information. Some phishing emails will even threaten a dire consequence if you don't respond. The message will direct you to a website that will appear just like a legitimate organization's site. But it isn't. 

Here are a few tips that the FTC recommends:

  • If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do no reply or click on the link in the message.  Legitimate companies or organizations will not ask for this information via email. If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization mentioned in the email using the telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new Internet browser session and type in the company's correct Web address yourself. In any case, don't cut and paste the link from a message into your Internet browser - phishers can make links look like they go to one place, but they actually send you to a different site.
  • Area codes can mislead.  Some scammers send an email that appears to be from a legitimate business and ask you to call a phone number to update your account or access "a refund."  
  • Use anti-virus and ant-spyware software, as well as a firewall, and update them regularly.  
  • Don't email personal or financial information.  Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information. If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or financial information through an organizations's website, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser's status bar or a URL for a website that begins "https". Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons. NOTE:  If a MainSource employee were to send you an email including personal and/or account information, the email will be sent secure and encrypted.  
  • Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or your local branch to confirm your billing address and your account balances.  
  • Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain viruses or other software that can weaken your computerís security.