If you are a frequent user of the Internet, your email box is undoubtedly full of personal messages, work memos, sales adverts, and spam. It is common to receive messages from websites that you visited recently or shopping sites you browsed asking you to return and see what is new. You need to exercise caution when opening messages because phishing scams are an ever-constant threat. Here are a few tips to help you block phishing scams and protect your information.
How to Recognize Phishing Attempts
Scammers and hackers get smarter everyday and are always coming up with new tactics to trick people into giving out their information. One way to do this is to send an email disguised to look like it’s from a popular and trusted sites such as Amazon, PayPal, Facebook and etc.
They say there’s been suspicious activity on your account and need you to log in and change your password immediately. They provide a hyperlink to get you to click on it, but instead of being taken to a legitimate site, it takes you to their site where they collect and store your login information for later use.
Phishing scams like this often play off of our emotions and use fear to motivate consumers to do what they want. You may see messages that:
● Say that you have won a prize
● Need you to confirm some personal information
● Claim a government refund or unclaimed money
● Say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts
It is important to note that you should never click on the links in emails, unless it from someone you know or your were expecting to hear from. Spam filters are designed to filter and identify junk messages, but it isn’t 100% efficient. Some still gets through so you must use caution when opening emails from unknown parties.
Safe Guard Your Information
If you receive an email that you’re not sure is from a trusted site, look at the top where the “return address” is. It will say the name of the site, but not go to www.name.com, it will have something different. That is one way to know it is not an authentic email.
Another trick is to look for the destination URL in the lower left hand corner of your browser window. Hold your mouse over the link and you should be able to see it.
With all the new technology used to connect people it is possible for it to be misused as well. Apps such as Google Docs allow users to exchange information, work on shared projects, and edit documents in real time. But even Google got phished through a scam using it’s own login page.
Here are some tips to protect yourself:
1. Take extra steps to secure your account
2. Use a two-step verification process if possible
3. Never give anyone your login information
4. Be wary of signing in anywhere except the official website
5. Change your password every three months
6. Watch for email alerts about sign-ins from unrecognized sources
Protect your identity from being stolen. IDShield is a product of LegalShield, a company that provides comprehensive identity protection. They are staffed by a network of licensed private investigators and offer consultations to prevent identity theft, and help you recover in the event your identity has already been stolen.