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Avoiding Advanced Phishing Attempts

In today’s digital landscape, fraud is more sophisticated than ever. Bad actors have several methods to make their communications seem authentic, from impersonating legitimate contact details to replicating physical traits of people you may know.

One of the best ways to protect yourself from falling victim is to stay skeptical of any situation involving your personal information or account access. Be suspicious of any email, text, or call you receive unexpectedly, especially those that attempt to create a sense of urgency or request information like your account numbers or social security number.

Last year, we covered ways to safeguard against fraudulent transactions. Below, we will dig into some of the methods that fraudsters are using to disguise their scams.

Caller ID Spoofing

Don’t trust caller ID as a foolproof method to verify the identity of the caller. Scammers can manipulate phone numbers to appear as if they’re from a trusted source, deceiving you into thinking you’re speaking with a trusted individual.

Voice Generation

Don’t rely on the voice you’re hearing on the other side to be authentic. Voice generation technology has advanced to the point where it can create audio that closely resembles an individual’s voice using a surprisingly small sample.

Fraud Alerts

Exercise caution when responding to fraud alerts. Scammers may attempt to deceive you by calling and asking you to verify a fraudulent transaction via text. Their goal may be to trick you into authorizing the transaction instead of reporting it as fraud. Take the time to carefully read the message and respond appropriately based on your specific situation.

Link Impersonation

Before clicking on any links within your email ensure that the email is expected and from a trusted source. Verify that the email address is correct and not altered from what is normal for the sender. Scammers may change domain names very subtly, such as adding a lowercase l or other character to mimic the correct domain. Do not click on links or download attachments from suspicious or unsolicited emails.

The American Bankers Association® has some great resources from the Banks Never Ask That campaign, featuring tips and games on how to protect you and your family from scammers.

Staying vigilant against fraud is an ongoing effort in today’s digital age. Remember, if you ever feel unsure or suspicious about a communication, trust your instincts.  If you feel there is something suspicious going on, hang up or cease electronic communication. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your branch directly using a trusted contact number if you have any concerns. By remaining cautious and proactive, we can better protect ourselves and our finances from falling victim to fraudulent schemes.

Karah Cowan, Director of Digital Banking and Deposit Operations


This memorandum expresses the views of the author as of the date indicated and such views are subject to change without notice. Community First Bank, HFG Trust, and HFG Advisors have no duty or obligation to update the information contained herein. Further, Community First Bank, HFG Trust, and HFG Advisors make no representation, and it should not be assumed that past investment performance is an indication of future results. Moreover, wherever there is potential profit there is possibility of loss. This memorandum is being made available for educational purposes only and should not be used for any other purpose. The information contained herein does not constitute and should not be construed as an offering of advisory services, banking services, or an offer to sell or solicit and securities or related financial instruments in any jurisdiction. Certain information contained herein concerning economic trends and performance is based on or derived from information provided by independent third-party sources. Community First Bank, HFG Trust, and HFG Advisors believes that the sources from which such information has been obtained are reliable; however, it cannot guarantee the accuracy of such information and has not independently verified the accuracy or completeness of such information or the assumptions on which such information is based. This memorandum, included the information contained herein, may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or posted in any form without the prior written consent of Community First Bank and/or HFG Trust and/or HFG Advisors. HFG Advisors, Inc, is a wholly owned subsidiary of HFG Trust, LLC. HFG Trust, LLC is a Washington state-registered Trust company and wholly owned subsidiary of Community First Bank.