Cyber crime is growing at a rapid pace and it is important for you to know the techniques that the bad guys are using so that you can stay safe. One of the most common is Phishing. Phishing targets you via email, SMS texts or by phone. Phishing is most commonly performed via email. The criminal tries to trick you into thinking that they are someone else in an attempt to get sensitive data such as passwords, banking login, credit card number or any other personally identifiable information that they can profit from. Once they gain that information, they can steal your money or create all kinds of identity fraud. They may even target your friends and co-workers by making them think that they are you! Watch this video to see how it works.
Always be aware of this threat. When you get an email that is asking you to click a link or enter some personal information, stop and think about why they need you to do this. Always visit the official website instead of clicking the link. If the email comes from a specific person that you know, contact them via text or phone to verify that it was them. Do not reply back to the email because the criminal could already have full access to their email account and be impersonating them.
Remember these 5 things that will help to keep you safe from Phishing Emails.
- Too Good To Be True: If you receive an offer, such as a free iPhone or that you have won the lottery, it is probably too good to be true. The criminals will you use this to catch your attention and get you to follow their directions. Just remember to be aware of this and never click on unexpected emails.
- Hyper Links: Watch out for links in emails. Hover over the link with your mouse, without clicking, to view what the actual link is. It may be completely different or it could be very similar to the legitimate website with only 1 small difference such as the letter “m” replaced with an “r” and an “n” to look like “rn”. Look carefully every time.
- Attachments: Beware of attachments in all emails. These can easily be a self executing file that will take control of your computer or install ransomware. The only type of file that is ever safe is a .txt file.
- Unusual Sender: If the sender of the email is someone you don’t know, beware. Never click on an email that seems out of the ordinary. However, keep in mind that the criminal often intends to make their email seem ordinary to you.
- Sense of Urgency: Criminals will make you feel that you must act quick. They will sometimes give you a time sensitive offer of they will lie and say that you have a virus and you must act now before it destroys your computer. When they get you into this mindset, it is easier for them to get you to do what they want you to do. Don’t fall for this. Just ignore these emails and beware of them.
Also consider using a spam filter and next generation antivirus. Both of these will create more layers of security that keeps you safe from the criminals.
If you keep all of these things in mind while checking and using email, you will be far less likely to get caught up in a Phishing Scam.