Any IT consultant will tell you, hackers keep finding new ways to steal our personal information. As technology becomes more advanced, these criminals have to find better ways to trick unsuspecting computer users into getting their passwords and other confidential information. “Phishing” has become an epidemic and it usually takes places in the form of pop-ups, spam, fraudulent emails and contacts through social media. Don’t become a victim of this scheme and read our 10 tips to keep your data safe from a phishing attack.
1. Recognize Suspicious Emails
Phishing emails have some specific characteristics that you need to look for. The reason they are so successful is because they present the email with a duplicate picture of the real company and give the name of a real employee. These emails generally promote free gifts or report that your existing account has been lost. If you’re unsure, call the business and ask if they really sent you the email.
2. Always Check the Source of the Email
Be leery of emails that come from unrecognized senders or are not personalized. Phishing emails will use scare tactics telling you to act quickly or something terrible will happen with an account. They will ask urgently for confirmation of financial or personal information over the Internet. Don’t ever give this type of information online. A real bank or financial institution will never ask for your password via email.
3. Be Alert on All Sites
Phishing is not limited to banking sites. Scams to steal your data can appear on PayPal, eBay, Facebook and more.
4. Beef Up Security
Invest in good antivirus software for your computer. Consider a firewall, anti-spyware and spam filters. Make sure you have the most recent version updated on your browsers and OS.
5. Check Accounts Regularly
Make it a habit to check your online bank accounts and credit card statements on a regular basis. This way you can pick up on any irregularities as soon as possible.
6. Beware of Links in Emails
Never click on links to your bank included in an email. It could be linked to a fake site. This also goes for attachments or download files you weren’t expecting.
7. Be Cautious of Pop-Ups
Never enter any personal data in a pop-up or click on links within them. If you get a pop-up asking for information on a site that you thought was a real business, get away from it immediately because legitimate businesses will never ask for anything that way.
8. Avoid Emailing Personal Info
Don’t ever send emails with personal information in them, even to recipients you are close with. Your account or theirs could get hacked into or compromised by a phishing attack.
9. Look for Secure Web Sites
Check for signs of secure sites when making online transactions. Some clues that the site is safe are a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or “https” vs “http”. The “s” stands for “secure
10. Phishing in Any Language
Be aware that phishing can get to you in any language, so if you’re suddenly receiving statements in a foreign tongue, something is wrong. Quite often they are poorly written with bad grammar or if the criminal is from another country, they do not translate well.
On top of these helpful tips, having Cognoscape as your trusted IT consultant will help prevent you from becoming a victim to technology. Contact us today if you have any questions regarding your technology’s security or if you simply have a technology topic you’d like us to discuss.