beware of clicking links in email or im messages
Phishing occurs when a person attempts to steal personal information or install malicious software on your computer with the intention of stealing money from you. Cybercriminals can do this in a number of ways, all of which require some action on your part. They might email you, call you on the phone, post a link on your Facebook wall, or convince you to download something off a website. The best way to protect against phishing scams is to know the signs.
Signs of phishing scams:
- Incorrect Spelling and Grammar - Professional companies will not send out mass emails with spelling or grammar mistakes. If you find mistakes in an email, there is a good chance it is a scam.
- Beware of Links - If an email seems suspicious, do not click on any links. Be especially suspicious of any truncated or shortened URL which then redirects you to the actual web site.
- Threats - A common characteristic of spam emails are threats. For example, a typical phishing email might warn that your Hotmail account will be closed if you do not verify your personal information at a given address. The email is a scam intended on stealing your personal data.
- Suspicious Facebook Posts - When a Facebook friend makes a post on your wall that seems uncharacteristic of that individual, be sure to avoid clicking on any links associated with the post. Often, spammers exploit contact lists and social media websites to virally spread their messages.
Keep your computer safe. When in doubt, delete the email or message.
- Learn more about staying safe or what to do if you’ve already given out personal information from the Anti-Phishing Work Group (APWG).
- Learn about phishing scams at BC.
- Test your knowledge by taking this phishing quiz.
- Learn what to do, if you think your identity has been stolen from the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).