Emily Huffman

August 3, 2020

Phishing: Don’t Take the Bait

These days, it’s a rare person who hasn’t received a suspicious message in their inbox. Scams from foreign princes asking for help obtaining their fortune may not be as prevalent as they used to be, but that doesn’t mean the attempts at swindling people out of their money or getting access to their personal accounts have let up. In fact, it’s just the opposite.


In the past few weeks, we’ve had a number of CT-email users reach out to let us know they’ve been receiving scam messages. Popularly known as ‘phishing,’ some of these emails claimed recipients can win an iPhone 11, others that their CT COMM email account is being shut down. Both instances require customers to submit their personal information, either to be entered to win or to keep their account accessible.


It seems obvious to say, but if you receive these or similar types of messages, don’t respond or click on any links, as doing so will not only share your personal information (which could allow access to your bank or other accounts), it will allow the scammers to send viruses or other malware to your computer.


The hardest part about recognizing phishing efforts is that scammers are continually updating their tactics. In fact, the latest trend is called smishing, which may be fun to say, but it is not fun to deal with. A mashup of SMS (short message service) and phishing, smishing uses similarly deceptive messages sent via texts to your phone.


Fortunately, the Federal Trade Commission has useful information that can help you recognize a phishing email or text message.


Here are some quick tips to help you avoid being a victim of phishing and smishing:

  • Never click links, reply to messages, or call numbers you don’t recognize.
  • Do not respond, even if the message requests that you “text STOP” to end messages.
  • Delete all suspicious emails and texts.
  • Make sure your device’s operating system and security apps are updated to the latest version.
  • Consider installing anti-malware software on your device for added security.


When in doubt, if it’s a person or organization you trust, you can always follow up with them directly in a separate message or call to confirm the legitimacy of the request. Most often, though, if it smells phishy—it’s probably a phish.


While we have your attention, we’d like to let you know (in case you missed it!) the CT COMM lobby is open again at 126 Scioto Street, Urbana, Ohio. There are COVID-19 safety protocols in place, but as always we’re here for you. Here are the details if you need to stop by.