How to Spot and Avoid Phishing Scams
Learn How to Spot and Avoid Phishing Scams
Hackers and scammers get more creative by the day but there are ways to stay ahead and protect yourself:
How phishing scams put your personal data at risk
Phishing scams occur online when data thieves coerce unsuspecting internet users into giving them personal or financial information like passwords, bank account numbers and Social Security numbers. From there, the scammers gain access to their target’s email, financial or other online accounts.
Many scams that come in the form of email and text messages can seem legitimate at first. Phishing emails often include brand logos or official seals to make them seem genuine. For example, because some emails, or even phone calls, have effectively mimicked government agencies, many people have fallen victim to scammers impersonating the IRS, especially during tax time.
No matter how legitimate or authentic messages may seem, it’s okay to treat any correspondence with a healthy dose of suspicion.
The following cues should evoke suspicion:
- Messages with spelling errors or unprofessional language
- Messages sent with a high sense of urgency and a request that you act quickly
- Unsolicited reports indicating suspicious activity on an account
- Notices about payment processing issues
- Invoices or receipts for items you did not purchase
- Requests to verify your personal information
- Messages asking you to click on a link to confirm data or sign in to an account
- Offers for free goods or services
Even if everything looks okay but something doesn’t feel quite right, trust your instincts and take the following steps to avoid being scammed.
The key to safeguarding your data and accounts from phishing scams is reading email and text messages carefully and following some basic best practices.
- Research to verify the sender. Sometimes a simple online search will let you know if the message is a scam. If you question a message received from Wheatland Bank, call your local branch and ask about its legitimacy.
- Visit the Washington state attorney general’s website to see if there are any relevant consumer scam alerts if you are still unsure.
- Avoid clicking on links or offering any information without first confirming the legitimacy of a message.
- Use multifactor authentication to add an extra layer of digital security to your online accounts — especially those storing any of your personal information.
- Use strong passwords and update them regularly.
- Turn on your email spam blocker.
- Keep your Internet security software up to date on both your phone and computer.
- Turn on automatic updates for your operating systems, Internet browsers and any other system software.
- Immediately change passwords to any accounts that may have been compromised.
It’s important to report phishing scams to help protect other consumers from becoming victims. Your report could lead to an arrest or, at the very least, put the scammers out of business.
You can report phishing scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on their website. You can also file a consumer complaint with the Washington attorney general’s office and your local law enforcement. The more people you can warn about a phishing scam, the less likely they will be to fall victim to it.
Customers may receive texts or emails from our fraud prevention team if abnormal activity occurs with either their Wheatland Bank debit or credit card. Fraud alerts ask only for a “Yes” or “No” response and will always indicate the card in question.
Wheatland Bank will never ask for personal information, such as Social Security numbers, sign in credentials, or account information, directly through text or email.
Receive a fraudulent email or text?
If you’ve received an email or text claiming to be from Wheatland Bank and believe it is fraudulent, you can report it here: webcustomerservice@
Please be sure to attach the email or a screenshot of the text for review.
If you responded to the email or text or clicked on any links, please contact your local branch. Our staff is available to assist you from 8:30 am – 5:30 Monday-Friday. For after hours assistance, please call the Customer Service number on the back of your Wheatland Bank debit or credit card.