Since the start of email, it has been one of the biggest targets for those looking to get other peoples data. Today’s post will go over How To Protect Yourself From Email Scams
SPAM VS. SCAM (and Phishing)
Spam emails are unsolicited and often sent multiple times, but generally harmless. Scam (and phishing) emails are fraudulent messages that solicit sensitive information (e.g. Computer/Email Login, bank accounts, credit card numbers, etc).
PROTECT YOUR INFORMATION
ALWAYS keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date, and scan your computer regularly. In a business environment, your company should be installing anti-virus software on your assigned machine. For home use, you can use Windows Defender which comes loaded with Windows 10 or Microsoft Security Essentials for those of you that still have older versions of Windows. If you wish to use a non-Microsoft solution, Avast has both a free and paid solution for PC or Mac (use the version appropriate to your machine).
Here are some scam protection tips:
- NEVER EVER give anyone your password. Doesn’t matter who asks or why.
- Avoid opening unsolicited attachments. Scammers use them to transfer malware or viruses. If you get an attachment, even from someone you know, reach out and confirm that the attachment is legit before opening.
- Be wary of social engineering. Scammers scrape personal information from the Internet and use it to impersonate friends or businesses.
- Don’t blindly click links. Hover over the link with your mouse and verify that the link matches the text.
- If you do click an unsolicited link, and it takes you to a sign-in page, DON’T sign in.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
UNSURE IF IT’S A SCAM/PHISHING ATTEMPT?
If you are unsure whether or not a message you receive is a scam/phishing attempt, here are a couple of obvious examples of what to lookout for.
- Look at the sender address. Your Human Resources Department should not be called Robs Plumbing Service (with a bunch of random characters before the name), unless you work for a company called Robs Plumbing. In addition, @Earthlink has been around since 1994, but unless you have always seen your business emails coming from @earthlink that should be a sign.
- Sometimes the email may appear to be from someone you know, but look at the email next to the name. If the email next to the name isn’t correct, its a scam.
- Sometimes the email may appear to be a business, like @Amazon. However, if you look at this email, check the subject Fridfay is not a word. In addition, the To: line isn’t you. The bad guys just hope you aren’t paying attention. Legit emails, come from people who know how to use spell checker, especially if its a major corporation.
There are settings and software to help keep the bad guys from accessing your hardware or data. However, the biggest protector of your data is you. Paying attention, and using common sense will go along way to protecting yourself online.
Protect Yourself From Email Scams/Phishing