Honor Society Scam Email Protection Tip #9: The Email Claims to be From a Bank or Government Agency

Elevate - The Honor Society Magazine
Honor Society Scam Email Protection Tip #9: The Email Claims to be From a Bank or Government Agency
Aug 17,2020
Honor Society Member from Penn State University celebrating graduation from home.

This is from the Honor Society published book called "How to Avoid the Top E-mail Scams" by Mike Moradian, written to help protect our member and student community from common online scams. To learn more about the book or to purchase a copy, click here.

 

Tip #9: The Email Claims to be From a Bank or Government Agency

No one wants to get in trouble with the government, which is why phishers will try and mimic the government in emails to people. The most common government-related scam of the last few years has been scammers trying to get older people to send in personal information related to collecting their social security checks. Since these people did not have scammers or phishing artists back in their day, they are presently not aware of the advanced tools and tricks these people can leverage at a moment’s notice today.

 

Pretending to be a bank or a government agency can be a tough phishing campaign to crack. It’s certainly one of the more advanced angles that can get people from time to time, which is why you need to follow along with our trips below for remaining vigilant despite the attacks:

 

1. Think Back to Our Display Name Tips:

This is going to come in handy with this kind of phishing. This is where you can see if the URL is indeed irs.gov or if it’s something like irs.collectionsandinsurance.com. The latter is a false email that has messed with the right-hand side of the URL, indicating its irrelevance. The same holds true for big-time banks and other collection agencies. It’s common for phishers to try and be:

  • The IRS
  • The FBI
  • Local collection agencies
  • Social security

 

2. Remember: Our Government Agencies Don’t Contact You Via Email:

This might not be the case for people living outside the U.S., but it’s certainly the case for people who do live here. The IRS is not going to send you a personal email as their initial point of contact if something is wrong. They are going to send you a letter or call you. It’s how our official agencies do business in the U.S. Therefore, most times, any email or text claiming to be a government agency is going to be false. We understand if you still want to open it just to be sure.

 

3. All Personal Information is Inputted Directly Via Website:

Any sensitive information that a bank needs from you is going to be inserted into their website through their encrypted portal. They are not going to ask you for it through an email. Government agencies, especially, already have this information – they are the ones that assign you personal IDs and driver’s licenses, etc. It should seem odd if they are asking you to supply such information out of the blue.

 

4. Did You Do Anything Wrong?

If the “IRS” contacts you in December about a tax return you completed 3-years ago, think about that relevance. You should only be contacted by agencies that make sense. If you have never done anything wrong, why is the FBI on your case? Much like our lottery example above, that same principle holds true for government agencies and banks hunting you down. Many times, phishers will pretend to be banks you don’t even do business with!

 

The bottom line is that government agencies and banks act with professionalism in our country. They will not contact you personally through email regarding an urgent matter. They will call you or send you a letter, which is why you want to tread very lightly with any emails claiming to need sensitive government data immediately.

 

For more on how to protect yourself online, read tips from our published book below: 

Intro: How to Avoid the Top E-mail Scams
Tip #1: Look for the Display Name
Tip #2: Do Not Click the Links
Tip #3: Scan for Spelling Errors
Tip #4: Look for Personal Information Requests
Tip #5: The Offer is Unrealistic
Tip #6: You Never Initiated the E-mail
Tip #7: The Email Requests You Send Money
Tip #8: The Message Contains Some Kind of Threat
Tip #9: The Email Claims to be From a Bank or Government Agency
Tip #10: Your Gut Tells You Something is Wrong
Extra Credit #1: Tips for Staying on Top of Phishers
Extra Credit #2: Knowing When It's a Real Email: 5 Tips

 

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Honor Society Scam Email Protection Tip #9: The Email Claims to be From a Bank or Government Agency

 Honor Society Scam Email Protection Tip #9: The Email Claims to be From a Bank or Government Agency

Honor Society Scam Email Protection Tip #9: The Email Claims to be From a Bank or Government Agency

Honor Society Scam Email Protection Tip #9: The Email Claims to be From a Bank or Government Agency

This is from the Honor Society published book called "How to Avoid the Top E-mail Scams" by Mike Moradian, written to help protect our member and student community from common online scams. To learn more about the book or to purchase a copy, click here.

 

Tip #9: The Email Claims to be From a Bank or Government Agency

No one wants to get in trouble with the government, which is why phishers will try and mimic the government in emails to people. The most common government-related scam of the last few years has been scammers trying to get older people to send in personal information related to collecting their social security checks. Since these people did not have scammers or phishing artists back in their day, they are presently not aware of the advanced tools and tricks these people can leverage at a moment’s notice today.

 

Pretending to be a bank or a government agency can be a tough phishing campaign to crack. It’s certainly one of the more advanced angles that can get people from time to time, which is why you need to follow along with our trips below for remaining vigilant despite the attacks:

 

1. Think Back to Our Display Name Tips:

This is going to come in handy with this kind of phishing. This is where you can see if the URL is indeed irs.gov or if it’s something like irs.collectionsandinsurance.com. The latter is a false email that has messed with the right-hand side of the URL, indicating its irrelevance. The same holds true for big-time banks and other collection agencies. It’s common for phishers to try and be:

  • The IRS
  • The FBI
  • Local collection agencies
  • Social security

 

2. Remember: Our Government Agencies Don’t Contact You Via Email:

This might not be the case for people living outside the U.S., but it’s certainly the case for people who do live here. The IRS is not going to send you a personal email as their initial point of contact if something is wrong. They are going to send you a letter or call you. It’s how our official agencies do business in the U.S. Therefore, most times, any email or text claiming to be a government agency is going to be false. We understand if you still want to open it just to be sure.

 

3. All Personal Information is Inputted Directly Via Website:

Any sensitive information that a bank needs from you is going to be inserted into their website through their encrypted portal. They are not going to ask you for it through an email. Government agencies, especially, already have this information – they are the ones that assign you personal IDs and driver’s licenses, etc. It should seem odd if they are asking you to supply such information out of the blue.

 

4. Did You Do Anything Wrong?

If the “IRS” contacts you in December about a tax return you completed 3-years ago, think about that relevance. You should only be contacted by agencies that make sense. If you have never done anything wrong, why is the FBI on your case? Much like our lottery example above, that same principle holds true for government agencies and banks hunting you down. Many times, phishers will pretend to be banks you don’t even do business with!

 

The bottom line is that government agencies and banks act with professionalism in our country. They will not contact you personally through email regarding an urgent matter. They will call you or send you a letter, which is why you want to tread very lightly with any emails claiming to need sensitive government data immediately.

 

For more on how to protect yourself online, read tips from our published book below: 

Intro: How to Avoid the Top E-mail Scams
Tip #1: Look for the Display Name
Tip #2: Do Not Click the Links
Tip #3: Scan for Spelling Errors
Tip #4: Look for Personal Information Requests
Tip #5: The Offer is Unrealistic
Tip #6: You Never Initiated the E-mail
Tip #7: The Email Requests You Send Money
Tip #8: The Message Contains Some Kind of Threat
Tip #9: The Email Claims to be From a Bank or Government Agency
Tip #10: Your Gut Tells You Something is Wrong
Extra Credit #1: Tips for Staying on Top of Phishers
Extra Credit #2: Knowing When It's a Real Email: 5 Tips