3 telltale signs of a phishing email

Pay close attention to the message itself to detect fraud.

Stéphanie Gohier-Coulombe

71% of phishing attacks use the name and colours of a financial institution to obtain personal information.

Logos, signatures and security features are easy to forge. That's why you'll need to pay close attention to the message itself to detect fraud.

Here are 3 telltale signs of a phishing scam. While they're all a bit different, they have one thing in common: they're always unexpected and unsolicited.

1. They give a sense of urgency

Why? The goal of scam artists is to get you to act fast without thinking, by giving a sense of urgency and emphasizing the consequences if you don't.

Common scenarios:

  • You're asked to update your personal information; if you don't, your account will be frozen or closed.
  • Your financial institution informs you that your account could be compromised and asks you to click on a link to log in and change your password.
  • You're notified that there has been fraudulent activity in your account and that if you don't confirm your credit card or account details, you'll be held liable.

2. They promise a financial gain

Ah! The lure of money! The goal here is to make you believe you've won a prize or are receiving a perk of some kind, even though you didn't ask for it or enter any contests. Scam artists will often appeal to your desire for financial gain to get you to divulge personal information.

Common scenarios:

  • You receive an email prompting you to click on a link to claim a sudden windfall from someone you don't know.
  • You get a congratulatory email saying you've won an official contest you didn't enter. To receive the prize, you need to click on a link to log in.
  • You receive a notice from Interac saying that your financial institution had overcharged you for service fees. It has reimbursed you and you'll need to follow a certain procedure to have the money deposited to your account.

3. They tell you there's a problem

You should be suspicious of any email asking you to disclose personal information to resolve an issue.

Common scenarios:

  • Your financial institution contacts you to notify you of problems with its online banking site. To resolve the problem, it asks you to click on a link, log in and confirm by email if you're able to access the site.
  • Someone has broken into your computer.
  • An accounting error was made on your account and was corrected. The email includes a link connecting you to your online banking site.

These emails are always unexpected and unsolicited and ask you to click on a link to confirm your personal information.

Did you know that identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in Canada? Protecting your personal information is our top priority and why we developed a new protection solution for all our members. Find out more about our personal data and identity theft protection measures - This link will open in a new window..

Be suspicious if you receive an email asking for your personal information or redirecting you to a transactional site.

The best way to protect yourself is to stay alert to possible scams. Don't be deceived by appearances--pay attention to the content of the email. If in doubt, don't reply!

What should I do if I receive email that I think may be fraudulent?


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Commentaires publiés (5)

Maria Parada / March 16, 2018 4:01 PM
I received a cellphone msg # 289-885-6170 Msg: compte temporairement suspendu. Pour plus de détails, visitez: http://desjardins.accesd-com.top?login=831
rupert richardson / March 7, 2017 9:25 PM
recd celphone msg claiming # 819-885-7218 unknown to cellphone. msg: 1/5 votre compte bancaire en ligne desjardins a ete suspendue. This is impossible since do not use cell phone for any banking activities. I have no association or a/c with Desjardins Groupe.
farinoosh ghassemi / June 20, 2016 4:55 AM
Hello, I received this email seemingly from Accès D saying that my account is temporarily blocked and I should update my contact info by clicking on a link. I didn't click at first and tried to log on my accesD but i got this message that safari can't open the page. I went back to that email and clicked on it. But realized it was a phishing scam. I tried to log on again and this time I was able to log in. My account seems ok, but I am afraid I have compromised my security. At the moment I am oversees but I have given my husband Yves Belanger authorization to have access to my account. Him and I also have a joint account. Please contact him on our home phone number 450 486 4907 or on his cell phone 418 569 1842 to discuss this issue with him in order to secure my individual account and our joint account. My email is nooshi3@hotmail.com and if you need me to contact you from oversees please let me know. Sincerely, Farinoosh Ghassemi
Brian Watts / October 28, 2014 11:32 AM
I received such an email just today. It claimed that access to my accounts online would be restricted because of servicing. I was instructed to hit a link and provide my personal information to the site reached (supposedly an official Caisse Pop Desjardins site. Ha! The email looked very official with the Caisse Logo etc. I immediately deleted this email. I know that any such real or official communications will be within the Caisse site itself. I habitually delete all others of a "financial nature" such as this one. There was another similar one from CIBC earlier in the week. ... funny thing ... I don't have any accounts with them!
A.R.Faguy / October 3, 2014 11:03 AM
I recieved such an email just yesterday telling me that I did not follow up on a previously sent information email and therefore would no longer be able to do any purchasing on the net.First,I don't do purchases on the net with any oth my cards and second,I found this to be a little strange since I only believe emails I recieve from C.P.through my access d account messages,so I just flushed the strange email I recieved.

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