< 1 minute read|Published by FAIRWINDS

Popular Scams to Avoid: Phishing, Vishing, and Smishing

Understand how cybercriminals use phishing, vishing, and smishing to trick us into revealing our personal information and what you can do to protect yourself.

Image of a hand holding a cell phone that shows the mail symbol with one notification. A fishing hook is attached to the mail symbol.

With so many different cybercrimes, it can be difficult to understand what they all mean. Among these threats are "phishing," "vishing," and "smishing." These are tactics used by cybercriminals to trick us into revealing our personal information. It’s important to understand how these scams work so you can safeguard your financial and personal information with confidence.


A phishing scheme is where scammers send you emails that look legitimate, pretending to be someone you know or from a trusted company, even from your credit union. These scams are designed to convince you to click on a link, enter your password, or share sensitive details like credit card numbers. However, once you click on a link, you’re sent to a fake website where your information can be compromised.


Vishing is short for “voice phishing.” Scammers make phone calls appearing to be from someone you trust with the intent to trick you into revealing personal information. For example, a scammer could unexpectedly call pretending to be from a bank to say there is a problem with your account or from a government agency saying that you owe money.


Smishing scams are another type of phishing that happens through (SMS) text messages. Just like phishing, they might ask you to click on a link, call a number, or share personal details from a fake text message that appears to be from someone you trust. These messages usually appear to be urgent and may claim that your account has been compromised or ask you to authorize large purchases that aren’t real.

Below is an example of a recent fraudulent text message. Notice some of the red flags:

1. Suspicious sender

2. Scare tactic

3. Spelling errors

Fraud text message that says "(Member Alert: Your Fairwinds FCU Account Has Been Placed On Hold Due To Security Reasons) Visit fairwindcu.online To Restore.

Here are some easy ways to help you protect yourself:

  • If you receive a call, text, or email that you were not expecting from a known contact or business, including FAIRWINDS, and you are asked to provide sensitive information, do not respond.

  • Be cautious of unknown phone numbers and text messages. If you believe a company or person is trying to contact you, call them directly with a phone number you know to be correct.

  • Before clicking on any links or sharing information, verify that the sender’s email address is legitimate.

  • Never click on unknown attachments or links.

  • Be on the lookout for unusual grammar or misspellings.

  • Take your time, and don’t feel rushed. Scammers often create a sense of urgency to pressure you into sharing information.

  • Sign up for free alerts through FAIRWINDS Online or mobile app to be notified in real-time about account activity.

Always be skeptical of unsolicited requests for personal information, whether they come through emails, phone calls, or text messages. Taking the time to verify the authenticity of these communications can go a long way in keeping your sensitive information safe. Stay informed and stay cautious to protect yourself from digital scams.