As the holiday season fast approaches so do the inevitable phishing scams.
What’s a phishing scam?
Fraudsters may use a practice called phishing to try to obtain your sensitive data such as usernames, passwords, and credit card information. These fraudsters impersonate legitimate companies or people, sending emails, text messages containing links that attempt to direct you to false websites or infect your computer with malware.
Most legitimate companies will never ask you for your password or ask you to download any programs.
How do I know if I have received a phishing message?
Possible warning signs of a phishing message:
- Messages containing bad spelling, grammar, and that aren’t addressed to you personally.
- Messages asking you to act immediately.
- Messages asking you to open an attachment to install a software update.
How do I protect myself from phishing messages?
While it’s difficult to prevent all malicious messaging from coming your way, there are some tips you should remember when reading and responding to messages you receive:
- Don’t share your personal information, such as government-issued ID numbers, birthdate, credit card or bank account numbers with people you don’t know.
- Don’t enter usernames, passwords, or other personal information by clicking on links from emails. It’s best to go to the website directly by typing it into your browser. You’ll also want to make sure you’re only entering this type of information during secure browsing sessions.
- When applying for jobs online, be wary of recruiters who ask you to send information to an email address that isn’t associated with the company. The email domain should contain the actual company name, such as email@example.com
- Use caution when clicking on links contained within messages. Malware can infiltrate your system if you click on a bad link. If you’re suspicious, move your cursor over any link (without clicking on it) to verify that it’s directing you to the real website.
Some common types of phishing messages
What do I do if I get a phishing message?
Report the phishing message by forwarding it to the real company, or to your email client, or just delete it.
Never click the links in the message, but if you accidentally do – run your antivirus software and do a complete scan.
Have a fun and safe holiday season.