Understanding Phishing

Security Center

Put simply, phishing refers to the act of trying to obtain an individual or organization’s personal information under false pretenses. Phishing attacks usually occur through an email, text message, or phone call that appears to be from a legitimate or recognizable source. Phishers, or the criminals who initiate these attacks, send alluring messages in hopes of obtaining information like your username, password, bank account number, or credit card information. 

Understanding that these types of attacks occur allows you to be on the lookout for them. Here are a few specific tips for recognizing a phishing scam:

  • Phishing attempts may include lucrative or eye-catching offers. If an offer seems to be too good to be true, it likely is!
  • Communication from phishers will often imply urgency or time sensitivity. Cyber criminals hope that by encouraging you to act fast, you may not pause to consider the legitimacy of the request before acting.
  • Phishing emails and texts often have spelling and grammar mistakes. You may notice odd mistakes, like an “O” replaced with a zero, or messages that have unnecessary letters, numbers or text.
While cyber criminals are continually coming up with new techniques, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from phishing attacks.
  • Use spam filters to protect against unwanted messages. Filters can assess the origin, sender, and appearance of the message to determine whether it is legitimate.
  • Set your browser settings to block fraudulent websites, allowing only reliable websites to open.
  • If you receive an email with a link, hover over the URL before clicking. If the URL does not match the typed web address, do not click the link.
  • Change your passwords often and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts

If you think you’ve received communication that is an attempt to obtain your personal information, do not respond or click any links. Remember, TowneBank will never contact you to ask for your personal information via text, phone, or email. When in doubt, call your banker. By remaining proactive, you can limit the threat of phishing impacting you or your loved ones.   


Only deposit products are FDIC insured.

The information provided is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice or recommendations for any specific individual, business, or circumstance. TowneBank cannot guarantee that it is accurate, up to date, or appropriate for your situation. Financial calculators are provided for illustrative purposes only. You are encouraged to consult with a qualified attorney or financial advisor to understand how the law applies to your particular circumstances or for financial information specific to your personal or business situation.


  • It's important to always be aware of phishing tactics so you can remain vigiliant when opening emails or clicking on links in messages. You can learn more with this article.
  • Some common features that you can look for are as follows:
    1. The message is unexpected or from an unusual sender. Whether it comes from someone you know or don't know, if anything seems out of the ordinary or just suspicious, don't click on it.
    2. If the message has a sense of urgency, it probably is false. Criminals often use this tactic to get you to act fast by threatening that you will lose access to your account or your suspend your account if you don't update your information. Legitimate institutions will ususally provide you with an ample amount of time before they take any kind of action such as terminating your account.
    3. Criminals will also use fake hyperlinks in emails and you can identify one if you hover over the URL and investigate it for misspellings or anything out of the ordinary. But, when it doubt don't click on the link.
    4. If you see an attachment in an email you weren't expecting, don't open it! Attachments often contain ransomware or other viruses.
  • Phishing is a common tactic used by criminals where they use email, text messages or phone calls to pose as a legitimate instutition to lure individuals to share sensitive data such as passwords, usernames, bank or credit card details or other kinds of personal identifiable information.
  • Spear phishing is a type of phishing that targets a specific person or group and will include information known to be of interest. For example, a company's employees can be targeted with an email that appears as if it's coming from the technology department and includes instructions or links to update software. When clicked, the users actually download ransomware onto their company computers.
  • It is unfortunate that there are criminals who are looking to take advantage of people during this time. We would like to remind our members to be alert of scams. Cyber criminals are sending emails claiming to be from legitimate organizations with information about the coronavirus.

    Be on the lookout for suspicious email and text messages, medical supply scams, and fraudulent donation sites that may impersonate a company, charity, or government agency. Make sure to verify the authenticity of any website before making any purchases or donations so you do not share sensitive information. If you receive a suspicious email or text message, don't respond, click on any links, or open attachments.

    As a reminder, TowneBank would never ask you for your personal information, PIN numbers, or login credentials.

    Do your part. Stay at home while still staying connected to your finances!

    Members are encouraged to use online and mobile banking services to view account balances, deposit checks, transfer funds between your TowneBank accounts, transfer funds to accounts you own at other financial institutions, pay bills and, and make person-to-person payments.

    If you are not enrolled in online banking, you may enroll here.
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