According to www.ally.com, “Phishing” is a term used to describe a specific set of tactics used to acquire personal information from you. This set of tactics includes sending e-mail and/or setting up websites that appear as though they’re legitimately from your bank. For example, you may see an email that looks like it came from your bank or a social networking site you frequent. That email may say something like “we’ve locked your account and need to verify (some piece of information) so please visit this link to login and enter the information.” In reality, the e-mail and the website it links to are fraudulent. Below are easy ways to protect yourself from phishing scammers: Assessing the threat Phishing is something you should take seriously, but it’s little more than a nuisance if you know what to look for. If you can spot an attempt at phishing, you can quickly stop it in its tracks. How to spot a phisher It’s easy to tell whether you’ve received a phishing email or legitimate communication from a trusted company. As a general rule, businesses won’t ask for personal information via email or instant messaging. So if an e-mail or message just doesn’t feel right, don’t respond. Instead, simply contact the company directly via telephone or their legitimate website. And of course, it just makes sense to ignore email attachments and links in emails if you do not personally know the sender. Common sense phishing protection tips Again, phishing isn’t an issue you should ignore, but there are some common sense ways to protect yourself. These include: Install security software and keep it updated. Use updated web browsers. Don’t share personal information on social networking sites. Verify that online requests for money from friends or other contacts are legitimate. Avoid downloading files from unknown sources. Log off of your online session when you’re done. Don’t click on links within email messages without making note of where the URL links to. Most browsers let you do this by displaying the information when you either “hover” your cursor over the link without clicking or by right-clicking first. Protecting your online banking experience When it comes to keeping the annoyance of phishing out of your online banking experience, you can also: Set up e-mail alerts about account activity. Use electronic statements, which can reduce the risk of mail fraud. Check to ensure you’re using a secure site before entering your username and password. A secure site’s URL will begin with “https,” rather than “http.” Review your accounts regularly.