Understand Email “Phishing”
Hacking and/or cybercrime is rapidly growing worldwide. With economic problems around the world, anyone with a computer and internet connection can try to separate you from your money, or grab your data for sale or nefarious purposes. To protect yourself and/or fight these threats, it’s very important for you to understand the techniques that hackers are using, so that you and your business can stay safe.
If you're not sure if an email is real, simply don't click it.
One of the most common hacking methods is called Phishing. Phishing most often targets users via email, but also by SMS texts or even by phone. The hacker attempts to trick you into thinking that they are someone else, in an attempt to obtain sensitive data such as passwords, banking login, credit card numbers or other personally identifiable information (PII) that they may be able to profit from. Once they obtain the desired information, they are able to steal your money and/or create any number types of identity fraud. These criminals may often subsequently target co-workers and friends by convincing them that they are you!
Watch an informative video produced by AARP discussing Email Phishing.
In the event you receive an email that asks you to click a link or enter some personal information, first, stop and think about why they are asking you to do it. Rather than clicking the link in the email, go to the website and log in yourself. If the email comes from a specific person that you know, contact them via text or phone to verify that they sent the message. DO NOT reply back to the email, as the hacker could already possess full access to their email account and be impersonating them.
Here are 5 things to help keep you safe from Phishing
(1) Is the Offer Too Good To Be True?
If you receive an offer, such as a notice that you have won a contest, a free cruise or free iPhone, this email is probably too good to be true. The hackers use this method to catch your attention, and subsequently ask to you to follow several directions. Remember to be wary of these emails, or ads, and never click on links incorporated into unexpected emails.
With that said…again, watch out for links in emails. To see the address of the entity that sent the email, hover over the link with your cursor (without clicking), to view what the actual link is. It may be very similar to the legitimate website with only 1 small difference, such as one letter change, or it could be completely different. Look very carefully if the email is ever in question. If you’re not sure…never click.
(3) Unusual Sender:
If after checking, the sender of the email is a person you don’t know, BEWARE. Don’t ever click on a link in an email that seems out of the ordinary, or weird. Are there spelling or grammar mistakes? If so…it may be a fraudulent email. Keep in mind that the hacker intends to make their email seem ordinary to you., but often is too lazy to spell-check and look at proper grammar.
Hackers will often create a sense of urgency, and make you feel that you must act immediately. They will often provide you with a time-sensitive offer, or they may lie and state that a virus has infected your device, and you must “act now” before it destroys your computer/data. Don’t fall for this strategy. Simply ignore these emails or contact the organization directly.
Consider using a known spam filter and next-generation antivirus software. Both of these solutions will create an additional layer of security that keeps you safer from these hackers. If you keep these things in mind while checking and using email, you will be less likely to get caught up in a Phishing Scam. If you feel you may be a victim, you can also contact your local police department, who may have a cybersecurity division to assist you.
Attachments in emails can very dangerous. On occasion, these files even self-execute, which means open and run a file that may take control of your computer or install “ransomware”, that could lock your computer data until you pay the hacker. Note, the only type of file that is ever safe is a .txt file.
We hope this article helps you better understand email Phishing, and keeps you and your employees safe while using email, an important communication tool for business. Give us a call if you’d like to know more about antivirus and/or spam protection. We will be happy to provide a free consultation by calling 1.888.245.1528 or send an email to .
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