The Internet can help you do, see, and experience some amazing things. But just like any other great thing, there's also someone who wants to ruin it for everyone else. On the Internet, those people are cyber attackers who go phishing for innocent Internet users to take advantage of. If you become a victim of phishing, information like your passwords, credit card numbers, and other personal data can end up in the hands of some less than reputable people. Here are a few things you can do to lower the chances of falling victim to an Internet phishing scam.
Double Check URLs
Before you click on any link in an email, hover over it and you'll be able to see the URL beforehand. If it's something completely different from what the link text or the email suggests, don't even think about clicking it. In fact, you may be better off never clicking email links. Instead, just type in the URL yourself.
Don't Open Attachments
Unless you know the person sending you an email and you can confirm that person sent you something, never open an email attachment; this is a recipe for trouble. If an institution is sending you an attachment that needs to be opened, they'll let you know ahead of time, so you'll be expecting it to come. Always confirm with the sender what an attachment is before opening it.
Pick Up The Phone
If a company sends you an email asking for personal or financial information, call the company instead of sending an email back. Also, find the number for the company on your own, and don't call any number in a suspicious looking email. Exchanging important information via informal emails is not something legitimate companies do; it's only a trick used by scam artists.
Look for Padlocks
Secure sites where personal information is divulged will have a closed padlock symbol on the status bar. The URL will also begin with "https" and not "http." Always double check this on any site where personal or financial information is present.
Check Accounts Regularly
It always helps to regularly visit your online accounts, even if you have no business to conduct. Checking in regularly, not to mention changing your passwords every now and then, is a good way to make sure there's no funny business going on. If something happens, it is always best to learn about it as soon as possible.
Use Antivirus Software
Using established and trusted antivirus software can be your first line of defense against potential phishing scams. There are several good options, and most of them do a great job of keeping you protected. Just make sure you remember to keep the software updated.
Stay Updated on Phishing Schemes
It won't hurt to read up on the latest news on phishing. If there's a large-scale security breach, you could be affected and you'll want to know about it. You'll also want to be aware of the latest techniques that hackers are using to steal personal information so that you can take any necessary action to keep yourself protected.
Get Professional Help
It never hurts to use the services of a professional company whose business it is to protect sensitive information from Internet scam artists. These types of companies will tell you what you need to know to make sure you don't become another victim of Internet phishing. "Even with defenses in place, you may still be vulnerable," says IT expert Bones Ijeoma. "We help transform your employees from liabilities into assets with effective security awareness training."