RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – There’s many ways that scammers can try to steal your hard earned cash and one of the most common ways is through phishing scams.

Those scams exploit your trust and target your bank accounts.

The criminals are “banking on our gullibility” but if you’re smart about it, you can avoid their schemes.

To us, a laptop is a computer but to hackers it’s a money machine they use to steal cash from you.

Let’s explain.

Stealing credit card information has been a big business and it has frustrated banks and credit card companies so they came up with chip technology and the technology is working.

According to a study conducted by SAS, credit card chips have cut down on physical card fraud, but the report says there is a down side because it has spawned an increase in non-card scams.

The SAS report says fraudsters are using more social engineering to get customers to give up passwords and other information and a lot of those social engineering schemes show up on our computers.

An email CBS North Carolina reporter Steve Sbraccia recently received is an example of that social engineering.

It offers a $50 dollar reward from Bank Of America, “just in time for the holidays.” But the email carries a date of Oct. 1, 2018.

That phony date keeps it at the top of your email stack and the crooks hope you won’t notice that discrepancy when you click their phishing link.

Another email claiming to be from Chase Bank has odd grammar telling you to click a link to confirm customer data for a software update.

The email includes the phrase: “this instruction has been sent to all and is obligatory to follow.”

That use of strange verbiage is a clue that it’s a fake.

Another fake Bank of America email uses the grammatically incorrect “some one” instead of  the proper word “someone” in the sentence “we suspect some one else has been attempting to gain access to your account.”

Clues like that are a good hint you’re being scammed, but be warned – security experts say ungrammatical language in scam emails is being replaced with better social engineering.

“In the past it was emails with bad grammar,” says attorney Hugh Harris with the North Carolina Department of Justice.  “You could kind of tell what it was – it’s fake. They’ve gotten so much better – so much more sophisticated.”

An email claiming to be from bank of America’s “Digital Channels Group Fraud Operations” is an example of that more sophisticated social engineering warning of suspicious activities on your account that require verification of banking details.

But all these phishing emails have something in common, that is banks don’t send customers emails asking confidential information or warning of immediate account closure if you don’t reply.

To help combat this kind of thing, both Chase and Bank of America have links where you can send suspicious emails.RELATED LINK: Bank of America fraud reporting pageRELATED LINK: Chase fraud reporting page

Guard your personal information as best you can by controlling who gets access to it.

Remember, you are your own first line of defense.