The term phishing refers to a fraudulent attempt to obtain account information done via email. The email directs customers to click on a web link, and tries to trick them into submitting login credentials or other personal information to the scammers.

Phishing is what it sounds like, scammers throw a wide net (billions of fraudulent emails) in an attempt at “hooking” a few people. In this case, the trophy is your password, username, and personal information. Once they get this information, it could be quickly used to access your accounts.

Don’t be a victim. Learn to spot the hallmarks of phishing. Phishing may have the following hallmarks:

  • Unexpected email that warns of some consequence (like account suspension). This may have a “clickable” link that takes you to a “lookalike” site.
  • Poorly worded or confusing terminology in the text.
  • Promise of reward or refund, with a clickable link to a “lookalike” site.
  • Lack of personal information in the email. Things like account details are very generic.

Phishing may not only target your bank account. Other financial accounts like investments may be targeted, consumer services like online shopping, or even email services may be in the crosshairs.

Tip: Associated will not use highly sensitive information for verification or identity. We will never request credit card or debit card PIN, account passwords or personal email password(s) under any circumstances.

Phishing can take other forms too:

  • Vishing – Voice + Phishing. Calls by phone from live people or recorded messages
  • SMSishing – Text + Phishing. Text messages that ask you to click on links or call a phone number.

Businesses can be targeted more directly; scammers may research an organization and target people by name. This is called "spear phishing". No matter the form, precautions are still the same.

Don't respond if you get a message – by email, text, pop-up or phone – that asks you to call a phone number to update your account or give your personal information to access a refund. If in doubt, cease communication and call the number on the back of your credit or debit card, or on your financial statements.

If you have released any information improperly or believe you may have compromised account information, please immediately report it to Customer Care ( or call 800-682-4989. You may also use the reporting fraud link on this site.

To learn more about phishing, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website Onguardonline.

Mobile - download apps