March is Fraud Prevention Month throughout North America and the rest of the world. So it’s fitting that I share a few tips on how you can avoid becoming the latest victim of fraud. New phishing scams emerge daily and your inbox can be a dangerous place. The best thing you can do is to stay informed. Checking sites like this one will help you stay up to date with the latest scams.
- Don’t click on any links or shortened urls arriving in your inbox. Instead, open a new window and visit the company’s actual website using the url you know and trust. Many scammers send phony emails posing as an organization that you might trust. Think of Paypal, LinkedIn, Facebook, the Better Business Bureau, and many more. If you click on the link they provide, it will redirect you to a spoof site that looks similar to the original. But after you’ve logged in, you’ve just handed the keys over to the hackers!
- Take your time to thoroughly examine email requests and offers for spelling errors and inconsistencies. If you’re not sure, play it safe. Review the email later.
- Don’t reply to any phishing offer even it looks like it’s from a trusted and credible source. Resist the urge whether you’re trying to determine if the offer is legitimate or you want to give the cybercriminals a piece of your mind. If you do write back, you’re confirming your email address is valid, which might escalate attack rates, leaving you with an inbox full of phishing.
- If an offer is too good to be true, it probably is… so take it easy with that clicker finger and accept the fact that Lady Gaga is not offering all of her fans free iPad2s. Bummer.
- Be sure to keep your system up to date with the latest patches, and don’t forget about a solid security strategy that should involve virus detection, a firewall, and an advanced threat protection solution.