How to spot a bogus email
One of the biggest telltale signs of a fake banking email is when the message sounds urgent or threatening. It tells you that unless you act right away, you'll face some unfortunate consequence. That's not how banks communicate with their customers.
“As a general rule, our bank is never going to send you an email that says you have to log into your account right now because your credentials have changed," Sufka says. “We're not going to reach out to you and ask you for personal information, whether it's an email or a phone call."
Another tip-off is when the email refers to an action you don't remember taking or contains an attachment you weren't expecting to receive. You'd probably pause before opening a package at your door that you didn't order and weren't expecting — even if it came from a store where you shop all the time. Sufka recommends exercising the same caution about opening unexpected email attachments.
What if you're not sure?
Let's say you receive a banking email that doesn't raise any big red flags and you think it could be legitimate, but you're not certain. If you don't want to ignore the message, here's how to respond:
- Don't click on the link that comes in the email. Instead, find your bank's website through a search engine.
- If you decide to contact customer service, use the email address or phone number listed on the bank's website — not the contact information in the email. Alternatively, you can use the contact information found on a copy of your bank or credit card statement.
How to report fake banking emails
- Synovus customers can report suspicious emails to the Customer Care Center at 1-888-SYNOVUS (1-888-796-6887). Based on your report, we can help prevent other customers from falling victim to similar scams.
- Business banking customers at Synovus can also take advantage of the free Trusteer Rapport® service that will detect computer malware, issue customer alerts, and quarantine any malicious software found.
How to increase your protection
If you want to better protect yourself, make sure your passwords are secure and that each one is unique, especially passwords for your banking and other financial accounts. If you use the same weak password for multiple accounts, you're just making the hacker's job easier.
The other key step to avoid becoming a victim of bogus banking emails and other forms of phishing is never to share your personal or account information by email.