What is "Phishing?" Approximately 15 million United States residents have their identities used fraudulently each year with financial losses totaling upwards of $50 billion.”

Phishing stands for “password harvesting fishing.”

Phishing is when scam artists send text, email, or pop-up messages to get people to share their personal information and financial information like passwords, Social Security numbers, and bank account and credit card numbers. Then they use that information to commit identity and financial theft.” Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online. Visit onguardonline.gov.

Spammers fake e-mail addresses from legitimate companies and place big warning messages in the emails, texts, or pop-up screens.” They may say that your account is being closed or your password has expired. They will redirect you to a false website that collects information for them. It will look real and may be hard to distinguish from a real site. i-Safe America. Visit isafe.org.

Here are tips to help your child avoid a phishing scam:

•  Don’t reply to text, email, or pop-up messages that ask for personal or financial information and don’t click on any links in the message. Tell an adult if there are any questions.

•  Resist the urge to cut and paste a link from the message into your web browser. If you want to check a financial account or validate a website, type in the email address or billing statement.

•  Children should never share financial information without parent permission or supervision. Teach older teens how to make financial transactions online securely.

•  Don’t give personal information on the phone in response to a text message or email. Some scammers send text messages that appear to be a legitimate business, and ask you to call a phone number to update your account or access a “refund.” If you give them your information, they use it to run up charges in your name.

•  Look for teachable moments! If you get a phishing message, show it to your kids to help them understand that messages on the internet aren’t always what they seem.” Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online, onguardonline.gov.

You can report phishing emails to spam@uce.gov or reportphishing@antiphishing.org.