Have you ever had your heart skip a beat after clicking on something, or opened an email attachment, initially thinking it was legit, but then realizing something doesn't smell right (no pun intended)? Chances are that you, or someone you know, may have been a victim of an attempted email phishing scam. Over the years there have been various kinds, from erroneous UPS delivery notices, to web sites that are replicated so close to the real thing, that you would have a hard time believing it’s fake. The good news is:- there are things we can do to minimize the chances of falling victim to one of these scams.
In general, there are two ‘vehicles’ these criminals use to try and lure you in - email and web sites. These experts are flexible and easily adapt to change. In the past, pop-up windows and fake web sites were more commonly used to lure our attention. Over the years, advanced internet security solutions have led to a shift. Nowadays, email seems to be more of an area of focus. These emails are being sent, disguised with familiar names, and usually come across with a sense of urgency. Their intention is for you to follow their instructions, and lure you in until they steal credentials for certain institutions (i.e. banks). Or even worse, they hijack your system and encrypt your files, rendering it useless.
With advice from experts and the technology available to us, you can get closer to preventing the harm intended by the criminals behind the fraud. Here are a few easy steps you can take now:
? Be aware that these types of scams do indeed happen. (Awareness is the key)
? Remember that most institutions, particularly banks, will never ask you for sensitive information via email.
? If a suspicious email comes across from someone that you know, but you are not expecting an email from them, reach out to the sender and verify before proceeding.
? Do not open clickable links within the email. Instead, type the address in a web browser. You can view the link by hovering your mouse above the hyperlink in the email.
? Ensure your system is equipped with software (and other tools) to help protect against viruses and spyware.
I hope these few tips will serve as useful tools to help prevent the frustration that often accompanies any type of computer or email fraud. Staying one step ahead is not easy but it is possible! Just be careful what you CLICK on!